The NHL roster freeze is over and teams have begun to make a flurry of moves.
The Carolina Hurricanes kicked off the festivities on Thursday with a deal that few saw coming, trading goaltender, Alex Nedelkjovic to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Jonathan Bernier and a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The Red Wings and Nedelkjovic agreed to terms on a two-year, $6-million contract extension soon after.
Needless to say, this comes as a shock to pretty much anyone who sees it.
Nedelkjovic is a prized asset, a 25-year-old netminder coming off a rookie season in which he mustered a .932 save percentage that earned him a nomination for the Calder Trophy as a result. Nedelkjovic also happens to play for the Hurricanes, a team whose talented rosters have succumbed to playoff disappointment for the past half-decade in large part thanks to their unsolvable Achilles heel in net. Nedelkjovic appeared, at least, to be the solution. After years of futility, along comes a young, internally developed goaltender who can provide stability at the franchise's most lacking position for the foreseeable future.
And yet, Nedelkjovic is a Red Wing. Steve Yzerman strikes again.
Going the other way is veteran netminder, Jonathan Bernier, who surprisingly has put up extremely respectable numbers on a slew of Red Wings teams that, in years past, were barely considered NHL-calibre at all. The 32-year-old managed an impressive .914 save percentage in 24 games last season, along with a 4.7 goals-saved-above-average that particularly stands out given that it came behind one of the worst defensive teams in the entire league.
Hockey fans expect a trade frenzy when the roster freeze melted on Thursday afternoon. But it's very unlikely they expected this.