SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Alex Nedeljkovic of the Charlotte Checkers is the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2018-19 season.
The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 31 cities.
Named a 2018-19 First Team AHL All-Star last week, Nedeljkovic (34-9-5) led the AHL in victories, goals-against average (2.26) and minutes played (2,917) while helping Charlotte to the best record in the league. Nedeljkovic posted a career-best .916 save percentage and registered four shutouts as the Checkers finished with the AHL’s second-ranked defense and top-ranked penalty killing unit. Nedelkjovic, who made 20 consecutive appearances on home ice without a regulation loss (16-0-3) from Nov. 21 to Apr. 2, was the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for both January and March.
A 23-year-old native of Parma, Ohio, Nedeljkovic has bettered his numbers season-to-season in each of his first three pro campaigns and shows a record of 73-35-9 with a 2.59 GAA, a .904 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 125 career AHL appearances, all with Charlotte. He was a second-round selection (37th overall) by Carolina in the 2014 NHL Draft and has appeared in two career NHL games with the Hurricanes, earning a victory in his first NHL start on Jan. 23, 2019, at Vancouver.
The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Corey Hirsch (1993), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Michael Leighton (2008), Cory Schneider (2009), Jonathan Bernier (2010), Jake Allen (2014), Matt Murray (2015), Peter Budaj (2016), Troy Grosenick (2017) and Garret Sparks (2018).
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway tonight.