Name: Alex Nedeljkovic
Weight: 186 lbs.
From: Parma, Ohio
2013-14 Team: Plymouth Whalers
Alex Nedeljkovic burst onto the junior hockey scene in 2012-13 as a rookie for the Whalers, posting a 19-2-2 record in the regular season before taking the starting job throughout their Western conference final run. He played 61 games in 2013-14, a season which saw him post a .925 SV% and receive the OHL Goaltender of the Year award.
“Nedeljkovic has very good technique, but he is also extremely athletic and able to recover quickly if he does get caught out of positioning. Good skating allows him to challenge shooters, and recover quickly if an opponent tries to deke… Nedeljkovic is extremely good at handling the puck. He plays like a third defencemen on dump-ins helping his defencemen to clear the puck, and to start the transition game. He is also able to make long passes to catch teams if they are making a poor line change.”– Ben Kurr, Top Shelf Prospects (via Lastwordonsports.com)
Used to facing 35-40 shots a game on the rebuilding Whalers, Nedeljkovic carried his team throughout the season with his ability to stay calm and withstand heavy pressure. This calmness rubs off on his teammates, who know that they can count on him to rarely have a bad game. In 2013-14, he allowed more than four goals in just six of his 61 games and posted a monthly SV% below .914 just once.
“He battles and has good strength in his crease area, has excellent recovery… He’s got quick reactions, flaring out his pads to make low corner stops. He’s very smart and is capable of playing big games consistently.” –Al Jensen, head goaltending scout for NHL Central Scouting.
Nedeljkovic’s stock slightly rose over the course of the season, moving from #5 to #4 among North American goaltenders on NHLCS’s draft rankings. He projected to be and early-mid second round pick, though his late season performance and award wins could see him sneak into the first round.