The Nashville Predators are a surprisingly good team this season. It is a surprise because their roster has been cut down over the years.
It is also surprising because you'd think that goaltender Juuse Saros would need to be at his best for them to be good. He has been fine but way short of his usual Vezina Caliber self.
Right now, Saros is 18-16-1 with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Again, these are good numbers but we are used to seeing him be one of the five best goalies in the world.
Saros only has one year left on his deal after this year at $5 million against the cap. At 28 years old, the Predators have some decisions to make with him.
The Nashville Predators have to decide on the future of Juuse Saros
They have been denying that they are willing to trade him all season long but that tune is starting to change. The trade deadline is approaching which always changes people's perspective.
Pierre LeBrun reports via The Athletic ($) that they would like to extend Saros but will listen to serious offers on him. It is hard to tell what they mean by serious offers but you can assume that they want a good return if they are trading their star goalie.
The Nashville Predators, if they moved forward without Saros, would transition into Kevin Lankinen who has been their backup this year. He hasn't been incredible with a .898 save percentage and 3.12 goals against average but he is 6-3-0 on the season in 13 games played.
The hope is that Yaroslav Askarov can be the next goalie of the future for them whether Saros sticks around or not. They spent a first-round pick (11th overall in 2020) on him and intend to make sure he is a part of their team. He is 21 years old with an incredibly bright future.
Askarov has played in two games this season but he only started one of them. He is 1-0-0 with a 1.47 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. Those would be elite numbers if they didn't span just over one game played but it shows how good he can be.
It isn't time to necessarily think this trade happens for sure but if they don't extend Saros soon, anything can happen.