Should Re-Signing Saros Be the Top Priority for Nashville this Off-Season?

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros faces off against the Seattle Kraken
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a first round exit to the Vancouver Canucks, the Nashville Predators overachieved this year. They were buyers at the deadline and improved from a wild card race team to a contender. 

Judging by their moves at the deadline, the Preds weren’t ready to give up goaltender Juuse Saros just yet. If he was on the move, Nashville would have gotten more in return before this offseason. 

So is Saros at the center of a successful playoff run for the Predators? 

As the Preds gear up for what lies ahead, the spotlight is on their roster decisions and offseason maneuvers. There are many reasons why shipping off the Finnish goalie doesn’t make sense for this Nashville team. Will they build upon their successes or explore new avenues for growth? With anticipation mounting, this offseason promises to be a defining one for Nashville’s hockey future.

Who’s Next in Line?

As of right now, Saros doesn’t have a clear replacement. Yaroslav Askarov is the next man up in the Predator’s goalie pipeline, but is he ready to be the everyday guy? I don’t think so. 

Askarov played for the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) this season and had a .911 SV% over the regular season, however the young goaltender fell short in the playoffs. With a 3.25 GAA in five starts, Askarov lost the number one spot to Troy Grosenick

Related Post: Mitch Marner: Should He Stay or Should He Go?

While Askarov is still expected to be a strong goalie in the NHL in the years to come, he isn’t ready to be the number one guy yet. Nashville will likely let Lankinen walk and bring in their 2020 first round pick as their number one backup. 

So that leaves a big hole in net that the Preds are surely hoping Saros will fill. With no one already in their organization ready to take over, an extension on their current starter makes the most sense. Especially when the free-agent pool is so shallow. 

What’s the Going Price for a Solid Goaltender?

With all signs pointing to an extension, what would that look like for the Finnish netminder?

According to Elliot Freidman, Saros isn’t expected to ink a new deal until New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin reaches an agreement on his. Luckily for the Predators, the Rangers are likely to lock down their goalie sometime over the summer. 

Both Saros and Shesterkin have one year remaining on their contracts and are set to become unrestricted free agents in 2025. Currently, Shesterkin earns $666k more per year than Saros, although both are highly skilled goaltenders. 

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The main factors distinguishing the two, and attributing a higher value to Shesterkin, are his Vezina Trophy and remarkable playoff performances. 

While Shesterkin is likely to, once again, reach a more expensive agreement, Saros is in all likelihood, holding out for something similar. The two goalies had very similar save percentages over the past few years, although Shesterkin often trending a little higher. 

However, no matter the slight difference in numbers, solid goaltending can often be hard to come by and Nashville should be willing to pay a near Vezina winning price tag to lock down Saros and make another playoff push in the 2024-2025 season. 

Can Nashville Be a Serious Contender?

The Predators made a solid run in the second half of the regular season and with some reinforcements this offseason, could be a serious contender next year. 

With physical play, solid defence, and likely strong goaltending, Nashville is a team built for the playoffs. If they can add some offensive firepower to their roster this offseason, they would be a scary team to face. With an extension of Saros, it looks like this is the direction the Preds are heading in. 

They wouldn’t extend Saros if they didn’t think they could make a serious push next year, so it seems that will be the first domino to fall in a key off-season for a budding Nashville Predators team.

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
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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