The Penguins addressed their goaltending by signing Tristan Jarry today, but Jarry wasn’t the only free agent netminder signed. Pittsburgh added Alex Nedeljkovic, formerly of Detroit and Carolina, to the mix with a one-year contract.
The Penguins have agreed to terms with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on a one-year contract.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 1, 2023
The one-year deal runs through the 2023.24 campaign and carries an average annual value of $1.5 million.
Nedeljkovic had a huge year a few years ago in Carolina, but struggled mightily in recent years with Detroit. Goaltending can be unpredictable, but very predictably Nedeljkovic’s performance was good with a good team in the Hurricanes and very bad in a bad team in the Red Wings.
Given the salary amount, Nedeljkovic can’t be buried in the AHL without Pittsburgh taking a partial cap penalty. That could mean he is to take over the backup goalie position, which would make Casey DeSmith the odd man out and possibly on the way out via an upcoming trade.
The other move was to shore up the bottom-six by bringing in Noel Acciari. This is a player Kyle Dubas knows well from their days in Toronto last season.
Acciari to Pittsburgh!— NHL (@NHL) July 1, 2023
Noel Acciari has signed a three-year deal with the @penguins.
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Acciari can help on the center or the wing and brings a lot of defensive impact on the game, much like a potential new linemate Matt Nieto, who was also signed today by the Pens.
Dubas acquires Acciari for the second time in a few months. Solid defensive forward should give the Penguins' bottom-six a booost. pic.twitter.com/3Iyaxo1tWw— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) July 1, 2023
The Pens needed quality bottom-six players, and Acciari is that. He’s physical, good on the forecheck, versatile and can chip in some goals.
All these adds (including Nieto, Jarry and Ryan Graves) leaves the Pens without much cap space, less than a million bucks according to CapFriendly. The next step for Pittsburgh could be waiting on the other shoe to drop with exits from players like Mikael Granlund, Jeff Petry and DeSmith to clear up further room to operate. A lot of players came into the organization today, but something will have to give with finding ways to ship out some others in the hours and days ahead.