Free Press’s Ford compares Alex Nedeljkovic to other Calder Trophy finalists

The Free Press’s Ryan Ford compares Alex Nedeljkovic to 8 Calder Trophy-finalist goaltenders who went on to play strongly during their sophomore campaigns, including Martin Brodeur, Eddie Belfour, Jordan Binnington and Jimmy Howard:

The Detroit Red Wings have a new potential star in net this season in goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes in July.

Nedeljkovic led the NHL in goals-against average (1.90) and save percentage (.932) while finishing third in voting for the Calder Trophy (awarded to the NHL’s top rookie 26 or younger and voted on by the media). Most years, that would check off the “potential” tag and establish a player as a bona fide star.

But thanks to the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season — which lasted just 56 games — and a deeper-than-most goalie pool in Carolina, Nedeljkovic appeared in just 23 games. Accordingly, the ’Canes balked at ponying up on a long-term deal and dealt him to the Red Wings for, basically, a 2021 third-round pick. (General manager Steve Yzerman and the Wings then signed Nedeljkovic to a two-year, $6 million contract.)

So what, exactly, are the Wings getting in their young goalie? At the very least, they know they’ve got only the ninth goalie to finish as a Calder finalist over the past 30 seasons. So, let’s take a look at how the other eight fared in their follow-up campaigns.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.