Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen has penned an article discussing the items of note that aren’t going superbly this exhibition season, and two of the five topics he covers are particularly intriguing to me:
Nedeljkovic Off to a Leaky Start: It’s preseason. The games don’t matter. Players are more in preparation mode than a competitive mode. Coach Jeff Blashill said he’s not concerned about Nedeljkovic because he works hard. He sweats the details.
But Nedeljkovic hasn’t looked like the goalie who posted a 1.90 goals-against average with a .932 save percentage. He looks leaky.
He has surrendered six goals on 42 shots. That’s an .842 save percentage. That’s not .932. It’s not even .900. The season starts in eight days. You would expect Nedeljkovic to look more buttoned up in his next start.
Givani Smith Needs to Rise Up: Does anyone remember Givani Smith making one memorable play in his three preseason games? He has a big opportunity this season. He is out of options. The Red Wings want him on the team because they need a physical presence. He has the blend of toughness and skill that earns you a place on the third line.
But he really hasn’t done anything this preseason to distinguish himself. As much as the Red Wings want him to make it, he still needs to earn it.
Continued; I’m not particularly worried about Nedeljkovic, but I don’t think that he’s going to have an easy time adjusting to Detroit’s style of play and defensive scheme…
And Smith just hasn’t been very good. He’s an ideal power forward/instigator when he’s on top of his game, but he hasn’t been even very good most of the time, and I’m afraid that he may be waived and sent to Grand Rapids if he clears as a result.