Opinion: Why This Could Be the Year that Predators’ Saros Wins the Vezina Trophy

Juuse Saros star of the game.
Photo: NHL.com

It may be too early to start thinking about next season considering that we are still in the thick of things regarding free agency and the summer in general.

One area that might be worth looking at is potential award winners for next season. For this particular article, I want to focus on the Vezina Trophy, which is given to the league’s top goaltender.

Obvious names will be thrown out there. Goaltenders such as Connor Hellebuyck (two-time winner), Thatcher Demko, Sergei Bobrovsky (two-time winner), Igor Shesterkin (2022 winner), Andrei Vaselivsky (2019 winner), Ilya Sorokin, Jake Oettinger, and Jeremy Swayman will all be mentioned as those who could win it for the 2024-25 season.

I would like to add another goaltender to that mix – Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros. Saros, 29, was a finalist for the Vezina in the 2021-22 season when he went 38-25-0-3 with a 2.64 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage, and four shutouts.

This upcoming season, however, could be the season that he ends up winning the trophy for several reasons. For starters, he is already an elite goaltender.

Saros is currently 182-119-0-32 with a 2.63 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage, and 23 shutouts. He is also a two-time All-Star (2022 and 2023).

In three of the past four seasons, Saros has finished in the top six in Vezina Trophy votes. As mentioned above, he was a Vezina Finalist in the 2021-22 season and he also finished fourth in voting for the Vezina the following season when he led the league in saves with 1,928 and went 33-23-0-7 with a 2.69 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage, and two shutouts.

Secondly, he should go into this upcoming season with a ton of confidence. On July 1, the Predators signed Saros to an eight-year, $61.92 million contract despite having a down season in which he was 35-24-0-5 with a 2.86 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage, and three shutouts.

This contract should assure Saros that he will be the guy for the Predators for the foreseeable future. Going into the offseason, there were whispers that Predators’ prospect Yaroslav Askarov was going to push Saros from the Predators’ crease.

That is no longer the case. Saros is entering the prime of his career, and the net is his.

Lastly, Saros will have a great team playing in front of him, one that should be able to put the puck in the net a lot more than he is used to seeing. On the first day of free agency, Predators general manager Barry Trotz went out and signed the likes of Steven Stamkos (four years, $32 million) and Jonathan Marchessault (five years, $27.5 million).

With those two guys mentioned above to go with players like Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly, Gustav Nyquist, and now Brady Skjei, this team is in a good position to be a contender in both the Central Division and the Western Conference. More importantly, it will be Saros who will be doing his best to lead the Predators to hockey’s promised land.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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