Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

A2Y- Alex Nedeljkovic Is Good, Simon Edvinsson Is Confident

01/08/2023 at 11:15am EST

via Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

The Grand Rapids Griffins are a beneficiary of the Detroit Red Wings’ crowded goaltending situation. Alex Nedeljkovic turned in another strong goaltending effort (36 saves) Saturday to help the Griffins earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Texas Stars.

Nedeljkovic is 2-0-1, while stopping 95 of 100 shots, during his three conditioning starts with the Griffins. He boasts a 1.63 goals-against average to go with his .950 save percentage. He can play five games or stay two weeks with the Griffins.

The Griffins have two home games against the Iowa Wild this week on Wednesday and Friday.

In December, Magnus Hellberg also went to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint and won two of his four starts with a 2.50 GAA and a .932 save percentage.

What that means is that Nedeljkovic and Hellberg have been in net for 32.1% (nine) of the Griffins’ 28 points in the standings. Their combined 2.12 GAA and .939 save percentage has been a big help for a Griffins team that is last in the Central Division with a 13-17-1-1 record. Grand Rapids’ usual goalies, Jussi Olkinuora and Victor Brattstrom have been giving up close to four goals per game. Olkinuora is 6-8-0 with a 3.75 GAA and .868 save percentage. Brattstrom is at 3.99 and .880.

from Nate Brown of Detroit Hockey Now,

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic has played with his fair share of defensemen. He’s seen what works when it comes to playing at the next level.

And Grand Rapid’s Simon Edvinsson is already demonstrating some of those qualities.

“He plays with a lot of poise,” Nedeljkovic said. “Definitely a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger.”

Edvinsson had his share of good moments in the Griffins 4-2 victory over Texas Friday night, factoring in on the first goal and then assisting on the final Griffins goal. The 19-year-old now has 12 points (1-11) in 24 games this season and certainly has made himself known in just his first season at the AHL level.

“He’s not afraid to hold onto the puck and see what options he has, and he’s not afraid to make the play, either,” Nedeljkovic said. “He can skate himself out of trouble so I think he brings a lot.”



from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

That is the subject of this Detroit Red Wings mailbag, with reader Michael S. writing to ask, “What are the Wings going to do when the others come back?”

In 10 days or so, the expectation is Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina will both be ready to play; the target is sometime during the Jan. 16-19 trip that has the Wings visiting the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights.

That means creating room on the 23-man roster. 

...the Wings could opt to waive Hellberg, clearing a spot that way.

Another option is to waive veteran forward Adam Erne. He is in the last year of his contract, and does not appear to fit into the team's future. There are several young forwards who are waiver-exempt, but Joe Veleno has proven his value as a fourth-line center and is getting looks on the power play. Jonatan Berggren, a skilled rookie who regularly has his fingerprints on offensive chances, began the season in the minors but he got the OK to move his belongings from Grand Rapids to the Detroit metro area, so he's not going back. Elmer Söderblom's play has not been as consistent, but the team clearly sees the 6-foot-8 winger as part of the future.

If the Wings are fully healthy when Bertuzzi and Zadina become available, the decision also falls on coach Derek Lalonde regarding the lineup. Zadina was a healthy scratch the first two games of the season, and he had no points and a minus-3 rating in nine games before being sidelined by a leg injury. He has had multiple opportunities over the past couple seasons to play in the top six and hasn't shown he belongs there. He's not a grinder, nor a penalty killer....

Waiving Vrana, and, when he cleared, assigning him to the minors trimmed the top-line winger from the 23-man roster, which enabled the Wings to activate Robby Fabbri. The Wings can keep Vrana in the minors (his nameplate has been removed, for the time being anyway, from his old stall in the locker room at Little Caesars Arena) but it's not a great use of such a talented resource. Vrana has a year left on a contract with a $5.25 million salary cap hit, and the Wings may have to retain as much as 50% of the contract if they can find a trade partner.

Being willing to lose Vrana for nothing, less than two weeks after Vrana was reinstated following two months in the players assistance program, was a resolute decision by Yzerman. Now the Wings need to figure out if Nedeljkovic is ready to resume being Husso's backup, or consider waiving another veteran skater. While that may necessitate a tough decision, the upside is how well it reflects on some of the younger players, that they are forcing the Wings to look at veterans as another roster crunch appears on the horizon.

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