Nedeljkovic off to Red Wings for Bernier, draft pick

The Carolina Hurricanes are moving on from their Calder-nominated netminder.

According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and TSN, the Hurricanes are sending Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings for Jonathan Bernier and a third-round draft selection.

It’s a curious decision on the part of the Hurricanes, who appeared to have something in the 25-year-old Nedeljkovic, a netminder who authored a .932 save percentage in 23 outings last season. 

He was also the preferred starter in the Stanley Cup playoffs, making the bulk of Carolina’s starts and performing admirably.

RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 8: Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Carolina Hurricanes hugs the pipe to protect the net in Game Five of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 8, 2021 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Alex Nedeljkovic had a breakout season with the Hurricanes at age 25. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli notes that Nedeldjokic was seeking $3.5 million in salary on an extension with Carolina. It seems the team’s apparent reluctance to invest that number prompted the move.

Nedeljkovic immediately struck an agreement with Detroit.

Bernier, 32, is in many ways on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of career trajectory, but is also coming off a quality season. He recouped a ton of value last year, posting an impressive .914 save percentage in 24 appearances for the lowly Red Wings.

The trade could theoretically reunite Bernier with James Reimer, though that would require Reimer to re-up with the Hurricanes as an unrestricted free agent. The two shared the crease for the Toronto Maple Leafs across three seasons in the mid 2010s.

Bernier seems like a reasonably strong choice to work in tandem or a back-up role for a quality shot-suppression side. Recapturing his form could lead to tremendous results given the situation he was playing in last season.

That said, Nedeljkovic is the netminder with the higher upside in the trade, and poses to be a quality addition for the rebuilding Red Wings.

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