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The Benefits of Goalie Signing In Pittsburgh

Alex Nedeljkovic re-signs with the Pittsburgh Penguins to a two-year, $5 million dollar contract. Nedeljkovic will be making $2.5 million annually during that contract to remain the backup goalie for the Penguins.

In his first season with the Penguins, he had an incredible season finishing with a record of 18-7-7 in 38 games played. 33 of those 38 games, he started. His save percentage was .902 and his goals against average was 2.97. His save percentage and goals against average are both the lowest since his breakout season in 2020-2021. That season he led the league in both categories. That season he made the All-Rookie Team and finished third in Calder voting.

Nedeljkovic joined the Penguins on a one-year, $1.5 million dollar deal last July. He now earned himself a raise and a little more stability as he gets to spend the next two seasons in Pittsburgh.

This past season, he looked like one of the best backup goalies in the league and was crucial to the Penguins late season heroics and their late push towards a playoff push. On March 24, the Penguins began a ten game win streak and Nedeljkovic was the starting goalie for all ten games. In matter of fact, he had a record of 8-1-3 in his last 12 starts of the season. During that 12 game stretch, Nedeljkovic helped the Penguins earn 19 points. However, the run was too little, too late as the Penguins failed to make the playoffs. However, it was not because of Alex Nedeljkovic.

Alex Nedeljkovic More Than Happy To Stay In Pittsburgh

It was uncertain whether Nedeljkovic would re-sign with the Penguins or not due to the Penguins financial situation and getting more money on the open market. Also, Joel Blomqvist waiting for an opportunity. In the offseason preview, one of the most important questions to figure out is addressing the goalie situation. Kyle Dubas and company solved that quick by bringing back Nedeljkovic.

If Nedeljkovic waited until July 1 when free agency officially opened, he could have potentially gotten a deal in the three-four million dollar range. However, his loyalty and love for the Penguins was worth more than the extra money.

In an interview at the end of the season, Nedeljkovic states his love for his teammates and hopes he can re-sign. He now has that wish granted as he will be a Penguin for at least the next two years barring any trade.

The Penguins are now paying $7.5 million dollars annually for arguably a top-five goalie tandem in the league. $7.5 million dollars for just two players is a lot of money for just two players, especially for a team with issues on the bottom-six. However, with the salary cap rising each year and on paper, the duo of Tristan Jarry and Nedeljkovic are a solid tandem. Therefore, Penguins fans should not be worried. Currently, the Penguins still have $10.7 million dollars to spend to upgrade the team. They could have even more if they trade players such as Reilly Smith which has been rumored.

Why This Deal Makes Sense For the Penguins?

This was a very important deal for the Penguins to get done. Nedeljkovic is proven as opposed to Blomqvist. The Penguins now have two proven goaltenders as a 1A-1B tandem.

The extension also allows for the Penguins to have depth. If Jarry or Nedeljkovic were ever to get hurt, Blomqvist would still get playing time. However, this takes a lot of pressure off of Blomqvist.

After the extension, the Penguins still have $10.7 million dollars to spend to upgrade the team. With salary cap dumps, the Penguins could free up even more money to upgrade the team. The Penguins are very fortunate to not have to worry about goaltending for at least two more years.

Main Photo: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports


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Aron Kiviharju

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