Red Wings add goalie Nedeljkovic, defenseman Leddy to accelerate rebuild

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Detroit Red Wings:

2020-21 season: 19-27-10, tied for seventh in Discover Central Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Alex Nedeljkovic, G: The 25-year-old was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the NHL rookie of the year as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, after going 15-5-3 with a 1.90 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and three shutouts for the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He was acquired July 22 in a trade for the rights to goalie Jonathan Bernier, who signed with the New Jersey Devils as an unrestricted free agent, and a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. … Nick Leddy, D: The 30-year-old scored 31 points (two goals, 29 assists) in 56 games for the New York Islanders last season and was acquired July 16 in a trade for forward Richard Panik and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. … Pius Suter, F: The 25-year-old scored 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) for the Chicago Blackhawks as a rookie last season. After he didn’t receive a qualifying offer, he signed a two-year contract as an unrestricted free agent July 28. … Jordan Oesterle, D: The 29-year-old scored 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 43 games for the Arizona Coyotes last season and signed a two-year contract as an unrestricted free agent July 28. 

Video: Top 10 Alex Nedeljkovic Saves from the 2021 Season

Key departures

Jonathan Bernier, G: He went 33-51-9 with a 3.02 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage and two shutouts in three seasons in Detroit. … Luke Glendening, F: He signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars as an unrestricted free agent July 28 after scoring 126 points (57 goals, 69 assists) in 554 games over eight seasons. … Darren Helm, F: He signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche as an unrestricted free agent July 29 after scoring 251 points (112 goals, 139 assists) in 744 games over 14 seasons. … Bobby Ryan, F: He is an unrestricted free agent after scoring 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 33 games last season. … Dennis Cholowski, D: The No. 20 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21 after splitting the last three seasons between the NHL and AHL, scoring 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 104 games for the Red Wings. … Evgeny Svechnikov, F: The No. 19 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft is an unrestricted free agent after he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Red Wings. He has scored eight points (three goals, five assists) in 21 games in the NHL. … Valtteri Filppula, F: The veteran center is an unrestricted free agent after scoring 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 38 games last season. … Richard Panik, F: He scored four points (one goal, three assists) in 12 games for the Red Wings after they acquired him April 12 as part of a trade with the Washington Capitals.  

On the cusp

Moritz Seider, D: The 20-year-old won the Swedish Hockey League Elite Prospects Award and was a finalist for SHL Defenseman of the Year last season after he was loaned to Rogle amid the coronavirus pandemic and scored 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in 41 games. The No. 6 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft scored 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 49 games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League in 2019-20. … Joe Veleno, F: The 21-year-old scored 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 46 games for Malmo of the SHL, three points (one goal, two assists) in four games for Grand Rapids and one goal in five games for Detroit last season. The No. 30 pick of the 2018 NHL Draft scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 54 games for Grand Rapids in 2019-20. … Lucas Raymond, F: The 19-year-old, selected No. 4 in the 2020 NHL Draft, scored 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) for Frolunda of the SHL last season. 

What they still need

One or two forwards, in the short term. Young players to take over, in the long term. General manager Steve Yzerman said the Red Wings still could add a forward or two this offseason. They don’t want to hand roster spots to young players; they want the young players to win the spots. They don’t want the young players to simply be in the NHL; they want them to make the Red Wings better and help them win.

Video: Pang and Jamison discuss Red Wings in rebuild processThey said it

“We’re going to have some younger players playing bigger roles. Sometimes that can be a challenge. But I think our back end is a little stronger. It’s a little bit more mobile, and maybe [there will be] a little more offense out of it. I think having [Pius] Suter there with a healthy Tyler Bertuzzi, I think we get a little bit more offensive output from everyone. I hope that translates to wins.” — general manager Steve Yzerman

Fantasy focus

Nedeljkovic’s trade by the Carolina Hurricanes may look like a downgrade for his fantasy appeal at the surface, but his value in keeper and dynasty leagues remains as high as it was last season. Nedeljkovic, as a rookie, led the NHL in save percentage (.932 in 23 games) among goalies to play more than 10 games and emerged as Carolina’s starter in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The acquisition of forward Jakub Vrana before the NHL Trade Deadline last season, the Nedeljkovic move this offseason and addition of top prospects Seider and Raymond as early as this season have put the Red Wings rebuild on a much faster track. — Pete Jensen

Projected lineup

Jakub Vrana — Dylan Larkin — Tyler Bertuzzi

Robby Fabbri — Pius Suter — Filip Zadina

Vladislav NamestnikovMichael RasmussenSam Gagner

Givani Smith — Joe Veleno — Adam Erne

Nick Leddy — Filip Hronek

Danny DeKeyser — Moritz Seider

Marc StaalTroy Stecher

Alex Nedeljkovic

Thomas Greiss

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