One of the strong points for the Nashville Predators is their goaltending tandem. Both Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros finished among the league leaders in save percentage and shutouts. Rinne was stellar most of the season in high-danger save percentages. Saros was actually slightly better. According to Corsica Hockey, the duo was the third best in the NHL.
With 42 wins in 59 games, Rinne earned the Predators’ first performance-based award, the Vezina Trophy. But during the playoffs, opponents were able to find holes in Rinne’s defense or catch him off-guard. The aging goalie showed he can still play at high levels, but father time is calling.
Saros is the goalie-in-waiting. And his time has come. I fully expect Saros to get closer to 50% of the starts this season, especially is Rinne show signs for fatigue or struggles.
Bold Prediction: Saros stats will be Vezina-worthy
Now, let me clarify. I do not expect Saros to win the Vezina. But, I think his play is comparable to those in the running for the trophy. Saros will start closer to 40 games, winning 25. He will finish with a .927 save percentage, 2.21 goals against average, and 5 shutouts. While he will not accumulate enough minutes to contend for the Vezina, his play will be on the level of the finalists.
And there you have four bold predictions for the season. Will they happen? Maybe. If they do, watch out. The Nashville Predators will certainly make a run at the Cup.