Alex Nedeljkovic: Prospect Profile for Carolina Hurricanes 2nd-Round Pick

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIJune 28, 2014

LONDON, ON - FEBRUARY 9:  Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Plymouth Whalers stops a shot against the London Knights during an OHL game at the Budweiser Gardens on February 9, 2014 in London, Ontario, Canada. The Knights defeated the Whalers 5-4. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Player: Alex Nedeljkovic

Drafted By: Carolina Hurricanes (37th overall)

Position: Goaltender

Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 4 North American goalie

Height/Weight: 6'0'', 186 lbs

DOB: January 7, 1996 (18 years old)

Most Recent Affiliation: OHLPlymouth Whalers




Hailing from the great state of Ohio, Alex Nedeljkovic started gaining some attention during the 2010-11 season. He backstopped the Cleveland Barons bantam Triple-A team in 52 games and posted a stellar 1.97 GAA.

LONDON, ON - FEBRUARY 9:  Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Plymouth Whalers makes a stop on Bo Horvat #53 of the London Knights during an OHL game at the Budweiser Gardens on February 9, 2014 in London, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

He struggled to assert himself with the Cleveland Barons U18 midget team, but he performed well enough with the Belle Tire U16 squad to go to the Plymouth Whalers in the sixth round of the 2012 OHL priority draft.

Nedeljkovic made his OHL debut as a 16-year-old, asserting himself as the No. 1 goalie for the Whalers as the 2012-13 season progressed. He finished the campaign with a 19-2-2 record and recorded a .923 save percentage.

He built on that strong showing this season, compiling a 27-7 record to go along with a .925 save percentage.


Full Scouting Report

Taller goalies might be all the rage right now in the NHL, with towering presences like Ben Bishop becoming more and more popular. Nedeljkovic doesn't have that prototypical size, but he has the speed and awareness to make up for that perceived weakness.

Brock Otten at the OHL Prospects blog describes Nedeljkovic's strong 2013-14 season like this:

Nedeljkovic continues to play well and keep the Plymouth Whalers in games they don't deserve being in. The Whalers currently find themselves sitting in 8th in the West, despite being the lowest scoring team in the entire OHL. Only Spencer Martin has played more minutes this year and only Philippe Trudeau has had to make more saves, yet Nedeljkovic sits in the top 5 with a save percentage close to .915. He's not the biggest goalie (certainly doesn't have the size teams have been looking for in netminders in recent years), but his agility allows him move so well in his crease that it compensates for a lack of size (if you want to call 6'0 a lack of size).

Back in November, Future Considerations wrote this about the netminder:

Nedelijkovic might not have the prototypical size NHL teams look for but the rest of the game is making them notice. He has a strong, fluid leg push utilizes a tight compact butterfly, the ability to read the play and proactively get into solid position making him hard to beat.

Nedeljkovic is also noted for his excellent reflexes and ability to read plays as they develop—two important things to note for the smallish goalie.


NHL Player Comparison

Because of his size and ability to battle through traffic, The Sporting News' Craig Button sees Nedeljkovic as a Mike Richter-like netminder.


NHL Timetable

Get out your tarot cards if you're going to try to figure out when a goalie—any goalie—is going to be NHL-ready. Nedeljkovic isn't going to be asked to make an NHL start for at least another two years, with stints in the AHL likely. Look for him to have made his professional debut by the 2016-17 campaign.


Top-End Potential

Aggressive netminders like Nedeljkovic are always going to be compared to the likes of Richter and Tim Thomas. That's not a bad thing, as both have Stanley Cup rings, but that's clearly Nedeljkovic's ceiling. He seems to have the ability to steal games and is noted for his mental fortitude, so he could eventually develop into a strong starter at the next level.