The Oilers should claim Alex Nedeljkovic

The Edmonton Oilers are now without their third-string goalie.

The team placed five players on waivers yesterday to be re-assigned to the AHL or Taxi Squad. Four of them (Jujhar Khaira, Patrick Russell, Joakim Nygard, and Alan Quine) cleared but goaltender Anton Forsberg was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes.

In a subsequent roster move, the Hurricanes placed goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers today. This has the potential to become an old fashioned waivers swap, with the Oilers coming out on top with a former top prospect.

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Edmonton is now in a bit of a difficult situation when it comes to their goalies. Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith are going to be the team’s tandem in net and, with Forsberg gone, suddenly Stuart Skinner, a prospect with 47 games of AHL experience, becomes the backup if either one of those two goes down with an injury.

Further to that, this year’s rules stipulate that teams must have at least one goalie on their Taxi Squad. If Skinner is that guy for the Oilers, it would mean he isn’t playing games with the Bakersfield Condors once the AHL season gets rolling, which isn’t ideal for his development.

So, long story short, the Oilers should be looking to find a different third-string, both for the sake of their NHL teams and for the sake of one of their top goalie prospects.

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That’s where Nedeljkovic comes in. A former second-round pick of the Hurricanes back in 2014, the hope was that Nedeljkovic would become the answer for the team in net after Cam Ward moved on.

That hasn’t happened, but Nedeljkovic has put up some impressive numbers at the AHL level, including leading the Charlotte Checkers to a Calder Cup Trophy victory back in 2018-19. Nedeljkovic posted a 34-14-1 record with a 2.26 goals-against average and .916 save percentage that season and won Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award winner as the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender.

Nedeljkovic would give the Oilers a goalie who can adequately fill in as a third-string with some legitimate upside while also ensuring that Skinner can develop in the AHL. It makes all kinds of sense, but he might get claimed by another team before he reaches Edmonton on the waiver priority wire.