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Red Wings Nedeljkovic solid in Grand Rapids debut

Nedeljkovic mades 26 saves in first conditioning start

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Alex Nedeljkovic, Red Wings
Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 26 saves for the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday.

As he met with he media following his debut for the Grand Rapids Griffins, it was hard not to notice that goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic did so while adorned in a Detroit Red Wings t-shirt.

Incentive perhaps? A reminder of where he intends to be when he gets back to good.

For starters, the news is all positive. Making his first AHL start since the 2020-21 season, Nedeljkovic was stopping 26 shots and leading the Griffins to a 3-1 victory. In the process, he was also earning recognition as the game’s first star.

“It was almost necessary,” Nedeljkovic admitted of the conditioning loan request he was accepting as the behest of Red Wings management. “It’s really tough to replicate that game-type scenario in practices.”

It’s not where he wants to be. Certainly, it isn’t how Nedeljkovic or the Red Wings were expecting this season to play out.

Red Wings Need Nedeljkovic to Rediscover His Game

At the same time, both parties are recognizing that it’s where Nedeljkovic must be for now, in order to get his game back to where he can be of help to Detroit at the NHL level.

“I think any player, you never want to go down like that, go down a level, but I haven’t played in a while,” Nedeljkovic said. “That was the idea in this whole situation to get some game action, feeling the puck in game situations.

“It was great. It had been awhile, so I was looking forward to it and I put together a good game.”

A Calder Trophy finalist two seasons ago with the Carolina Hurricanes, Nedeljkovic was looking like a lost cause between the pipes for Detroit this season. In nine appearances, he’s 2-4-2 with a 4.09 GAA and .880 save percentage.

Meanwhile, Ville Husso was earning the No. 1 role with the Red Wings. Magnus Hellberg was usurping the backup role from the struggling Nedeljkovic.

Wednesday was Nedeljkovic’s first game action since December 8. The victory was his first since November 6.

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Under the terms of the conditioning loan, he can stay with the Griffins for a maximum of two weeks or five games.

“I was just looking forward to getting some games in and finding my game,” Nedeljkovic said. “Obviously it had been a rough start to the season up top.

“It was nice to get a game like this under my belt. Hopefully I can build on this and build some consistency going forward.”

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kenneth william young

Maybe Ned has found his level. He won’t be back next year.

Robert Alpiner

If Wings want to trade him (probably untradeable due to his contract), he must play well somewhere or other teams will have no interest.

Mark W

Hmmm confusing. His contract makes him untradeable …yet…he must play well to generate interest ? Interest in what? A trade? but he’s not tradeable ! So its Vrana all over again…sort of. If that’s so, then waivers can’t be far off, which hell likely get past, which then likely sends him to GR.

Tom Rady

Mark in order to draw interest from other teams he has to have teams watch him play and play well. The American League is not a cake walk, that ths where the best NHL prospects are playing and the league also has their share of veteran players who have signifigant NHL experience. Ned is rusty, he has not played since Novemeber, he needs to play games but the Wings need to win now, so until he is sharp, he cannot play for Detroit . He has sat for too long.That is why they sent him there to get work. They really need Ned to get sharp, go back to Detroit, split time with Husso and give the Wings steady goaltending. That was the original plan at the beginning of the year. Each would play about 40 games for the Wings. Husso has played too many games for the Wings already and is wearing down.

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