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Penguins Re-Sign Alex Nedeljkovic; Full Details and Analysis



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Alex Nedeljkovic. Stanley Cup playoffs await

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to a two-year contract with a $2.5 million average annual value.

The move comes amidst a hot goalie market, which saw a pair of goalies traded Wednesday, including Jacob Markstrom to the New Jersey Devils. There are persistent rumors of additional trades, including the Boston Bruins dealing former Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark.

Nedeljkovic, 28, appeared in 38 games this season, including the final 14 games, starting the final 13, including a 10-game points stretch. The Penguins nearly erased a nine-point deficit to earn a postseason berth but fell just short, being eliminated after Game 81.

Nedeljkovic, from Parma, Ohio, posted a .902 save percentage but a healthy 18-7-7 record as the primary backup, if not 1A goalie, with Tristan Jarry.

He is known for his wry humor and gregarious personality in the Penguins locker room, exemplified by wearing a Miles Garret jersey in his postgame interviews the day the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 6-foot, 208-pound netminder has played parts of seven seasons in the NHL, split between the Penguins, Carolina, and Detroit. He’s played 141 regular-season games posting a 60-45-22 record with a career .906 save percentage and eight shutouts.

He also represented Team USA at the 2024 World Championships in Czechia.

Nedeljkovic Contract Analysis

The move represents a healthy raise over his expiring one-year, $1.5 million contract. It’s also slightly above projections and statistical models, which put his next contract in the $2.2 million annual range.

The inference is the Penguins moved boldly to meet the goalie’s price and lock down the 1A goalie before he hit the open market on July 1.

“We’re going to use this next stretch of weeks, the last two games with (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins) … and then really (important), the playoffs with (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton),” Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas said after breakup day in April. “How does Joel play? Can he assert himself at that level? And then we’ll have more information on how we want to go ahead with our goaltending.”

The signing likely makes that decision, closing the door on top prospect Joel Blomqvist getting an NHL sweater unless the Penguins trade Jarry. However, Blomqvist did not pass Dubas’s playoff test with flying colors, struggling through two playoff games as the WBS Penguins were swept in the best of three by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Read More: Full Joel Blomqvist Scouting Report (+)

Given the Penguins’ desire to remain competitive and make a run at the playoffs in 2024-25, trading Jarry before Blomqvist proves ready is unlikely. However, the second year of Nedeljkovic’s contract does increase the likelihood of that possibility by next summer.