DETROIT — For the past two summers, Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman has aggressively prioritized the club’s goaltending.
On July 22, 2021, Yzerman acquired netminder Alex Nedeljkovic in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. Detroit then followed up minutes later by announcing it had inked Nedeljkovic to a two-year deal.
And on July 8, the morning of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Yzerman announced a trade and ensuing three-year contract for goalie. Ville Husso from the St. Louis Blues.
Nedeljkovic and Husso headline the Red Wings’ new goalie tandem, which is up next DetroitRedWings.com‘s “Red Wings Reset” series that breaks down the club’s 2022-23 roster and new-look coaching staff.
“I think it will be great for both of us to have each other and push each other to get better,” Nedeljkovic said about sharing the crease with Husso in an Aug. 11 episodes of The Word on Woodward. “And to be better every day to try to carry the team back into the playoffs.”
Husso joins Detroit after compiling a 25-7-6 record with a 2.56 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 40 regular-season games last season for St. Louis.
The 27-year-old also posted a 3.67 GAA with an .890 save percentage and one shutout in seven Stanley Cup Playoffs games for the Blues, who lost to the eventual 2022 Stanley Cup-champion Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the postseason.
“It’s a different game for a goalie when you jump in for a playoff game,” Husso said Aug. 24 episodes of The Word on Woodward. “A lot of ups and downs during the game. You need to be mentally strong, so I think that’s the biggest thing I learned last year.”
Looking ahead, Husso is eager to reunite with former Blues teammates David Perron, Jake Wallman, Oskar Sundqvist and Robby Fabbri.
“It will help me a lot too, that I know a couple guys already there,” Husso said. “I’m good friends with everyone, especially with David. He helped me a lot when I came into the NHL two years ago and if I needed anything, he was always there.”
Husso added that he’s eager to get to know his new teammates, especially Nedeljkovic.
“I’m looking forward to meeting him, first of all,” Husso said. “I’ve only heard good things about him and how hard he works.”
As for Nedeljkovic, he proved he was capable of handling a heavy workload last season by posting a 20-24-9 record with a 3.31 GAA and a .901 save percentage. The 26-year-old also led all first-year goalies in 2021-22 with four shutouts and finished second in wins.
Video: [email protected]: Nedeljkovic powers Red Wings win with SO
Reflecting on his debut campaign in Detroit, Nedeljkovic said he learned lessons in consistency.
“I came into the season with some goals in mind,” Nedeljkovic said on May 4. “Hit a few, missed a few and mainly just wanted to be more consistent.”
Last season, Nedeljkovic became the first Red Wings rookie goaltender with at least four shutouts in a campaign since Roger Crozier had six in 1964-65. And while he hopes to have similar success in 2022-23, Nedeljkovic is also focused on helping Detroit make a statement.
Video: Alex Nedeljkovic | End of Season Media Availability
“Everybody this year is gonna have, not a chip on their shoulder, but there’s gonna be a little bit of an edge to everybody,” Nedeljkovic said. “To show that we’re not in the basement anymore. This team isn’t at the bottom of the league and we’re pushing to be at the top now.”
Follow along as DetroitRedWings.com breaks down the Red Wings’ 2022-23 roster, position by position, and the new-look coaching staff:
Left and right wing breakdown
Coaching staff breakdown