Carolina Hurricanes: Alex Nedeljkovic Didn’t Come From Out of Nowhere

May 30, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) comes out onto the ice before the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) comes out onto the ice before the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 19, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) celebrates his win against the Nashville Predators in game two of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) celebrates his win against the Nashville Predators in game two of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Present Day

This season, NHL teams were told they must carry three goaltenders between their NHL roster and the newly implemented ‘taxi squads’ that were intended to give teams flexibility in having a full team of players in the event of a localized COVID outbreak amongst the teams.

Earlier this season, Alex Nedeljkovic was required to clear waivers in order to be placed on the taxi squad, as Mrazek and Reimer were still ahead of him on the depth chart.

This seemed to signal the end of the road for Ned here in Carolina; despite being tremendously successful at every level he’d been deployed in up to that point, the Carolina Hurricanes waived him and left him exposed for any team in the NHL to claim, completely free of charge.

We all know what happened next. 30 other NHL teams passed on a player that would, in a few weeks time, be one of the most coveted goaltending prospects in the league.

Petr Mrazek would go down with injury early on in the season after having arguably his hottest start as an NHL goaltender, leaving the Canes to rely on veteran netminder James Reimer, and greenhorn Alex Nedeljkovic in the meantime.

Ned would quickly surpass not only James Reimer in skill and performance, but a vast majority of other goaltenders in the NHL, both veteran and rookie alike.

Mrazek would eventually come back from injury, at which point the Canes determined they’d be fine relying on a three-goalie system. Nedeljkovic kept on performing and quickly proved that he not only deserved to be in the NHL full-time, but he even challenged Mrazek for the starter position and won. 

Ned’s accolades this season so far include the NHL Rookie of the Month Award for games played in March 2021.

At the time of writing this article, the Carolina Hurricanes have just dropped Game 1 of the 2nd Round of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. One of the biggest reasons the Canes have made it this far in the postseason is because of Alex Nedeljkovic’s continued stellar play.

Ned’s stats (as of the writing of this article) stand at .932 SV%, 1.90 GAA, a 15-5-3 win/loss record, and 3 shutouts in 23 regular season games played. As for this year’s playoffs, Ned is currently sitting at a .923 SV%, a 2.20 GAA, 4-3-0 win/loss record, and 1 shutout in 7 postseason games played.

Every single thing about Alex Nedeljkovic’s career up to this point says one thing and one thing only: Alex Nedeljkovic knows how to win, and he knows how to win big. The Canes might be down a game in the 2nd round at this point, but Ned has been very similar situations throughout his entire career. The end results up to this point include medals, championships, individual awards, and more accolades than he can shake his paddle at.

If there’s one thing anyone needs to know about Alex Nedeljkovic, its to never, ever count him out.

He’ll prove you wrong, just like he has everyone else.

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