As expected, the Carolina Hurricanes recalled goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from the AHL Charlotte Checkers on Monday, a day after Petr Mrazek left the Canes’ 2-1 Game 2 win over the New York Islanders with what appeared to be a groin injury.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour said after the game that Mrazek’s injury was similar to the one that sidelined him for a few games in November, at a time when Curtis McElhinney went on a run of form that kept him in the starter’s job for the next month or so. Brind’Amour said on Monday that Mrazek’s injury is day to day, and not quite as bad as first feared, so he could be returning sooner rather than later. In the meantime, the Canes expect McElhinney to start for the next couple of games.
Brind’Amour also updated the status of the Canes’ lengthy list of the walking wounded on Monday morning. Saku Maenalanen (upper body) is not expected back for the remainder of the second round, and Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) is visiting doctors today but will not be returning in the near future. Both Micheal Ferland (upper body) and Andrei Svechnikov (concussion) skated today on an off day for the team, and both are likely to practice tomorrow with a further evaluation of their availability for Wednesday’s Game 3 to follow.
Given that Nedeljkovic was the only callup, the Canes seem optimistic that one of the injured forwards will be able to take Maenalanen’s spot in the lineup on Wednesday. Haydn Fleury will draw in for van Riemsdyk, and it would be no surprise to see a seventh defenseman, probably Jake Bean, recalled before Game 3 for insurance (update: that’s exactly what happened). The Checkers are off until Friday, when they open their second-round series against Hershey with a back-to-back in Charlotte.
The release from the team is below.
CANES RECALL NEDELJKOVIC FROM CHARLOTTE
Nedeljkovic was named AHL’s top goaltender in 2018-19
Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) on an emergency basis.
Nedeljkovic, 23, won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender during the 2018-19 season. The 6’0”, 189-pound netminder led the AHL in wins (34), goals-against average (2.26) and minutes played (2,917), and posted a career-high save percentage of .916. Earlier this season, he became the fifth goaltender in franchise history to win his first career NHL start with 24 saves at Vancouver on Jan. 23. In 125 career AHL games, Nedeljkovic has registered a 73-35-9 record, 2.59 goals-against average, .904 save percentage and 10 shutouts. The Parma, Ohio, native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round, 37th overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft.