According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Carolina Hurricanes traded goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings for a third-round pick and pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Jonathan Bernier on Thursday afternoon after the NHL-wide roster freeze lifted. Nedeljkovic, who could have become a restricted free agent on Wednesday, signed a two-year contract that carries a $3 million cap hit after the trade.
Nedeljkovic, 25, went 15-5-3 with a .932 save percentage (third-best in the NHL), a 1.90 goals-against average (second), and three shutouts (tied for third) during his rookie season in 2020-21 to finish third in Calder Trophy voting as the NHL’s rookie of the year. In 29 career NHL games, all with the Hurricanes, he has gone 17-7-4 with a .928 save percentage, a 2.01 goals-against average, and three shutouts. He also went 4-5-0 with a .920 save percentage, a 2.17 goals-against average, and a shutout in nine 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
The Hurricanes, who finished first in the Central Division with 80 points and fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, likely traded Nedeljkovic because he is a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights and reportedly asked for a cap hit in the $3.5 million range, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. Though the team currently has $29,426,417 in cap space, they did not want to risk him earning a high reward.
Bernier, 32, went 9-11-1 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average last season. In 394 career NHL games with the Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, and Colorado Avalanche, he has gone 161-159-39 with a .913 save percentage, a 2.77 goals-against average, and 18 shutouts. He has finished with a save percentage higher than .913 just once since posting a .922 save percentage in 2012-13 with the Kings and one of .923 the following year with the Maple Leafs (.915 in 2016-17 with the Ducks).
The Red Wings, who have $41,025,277 remaining in cap space, improve their goaltending after their .9215 five-on-five team save percentage last season was already the eighth-best. The team finished seventh in the Central Division with 48 points, tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Philadelphia Flyers also announced after the roster freeze lifted that they traded left-handed defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who recorded nine goals, 20 points, a -2 rating, a 52.23% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 52.34% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 51.2% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 41 games last season, to the Arizona Coyotes along with a second-round pick and a seventh-round pick, both in the 2022 NHL Draft.
The trade frees up $4.5 million in cap space for the Flyers, who now have $13,885,477 remaining.
The Flyers, who acquired left-handed defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators on Saturday in exchange for center Nolan Patrick and right-handed defenseman Philippe Myers, finished last season sixth in the East Division with 58 points, last in the league with an average of 3.52 goals-against per game, and 30th with a 73.1% penalty-killing efficiency.
The New York Rangers announced that they have extended pending unrestricted free agent center Barclay Goodrow, whose rights were acquired from the Lightning on Saturday in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round pick, to a six-year contract that carries $3.6 million cap hit. Goodrow recorded six goals, 20 points, and a +16 rating in 55 regular-season games and two goals and six points in 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Lightning last season. The Rangers ranked 10th in the NHL with a 3.14 goals-per-game average and a 82.3% penalty-killing rate in 2020-21. Goodrow led all Lightning forwards with an average of 2:26 worth of shorthanded ice time per game.
In 331 career NHL games, Goodrow, 28, has posted 32 goals and 93 points.
The Rangers now have $17,125,199 remaining in cap space.
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By Harrison Brown