Nashville Predators: These Players Are Facing the Most Pressure Entering Season

(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Juuse saros
ST. PAUL, MN – MARCH 25: Juuse Saros #74 of the Nashville Predators makes a save during a game with the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on March 25, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Juuse Saros

It’s easy to understand why Saros is facing so much pressure. He’s trying to fill the shoes, or skates, of the great Pekka Rinne. He has all the tools and talent to be just as good as Rinne, and maybe even better when it’s all said and done. There’s no reason to feel nervous about his progression, but he does have to being to start taking on more of the load as a regular starter.

Saros has been gradually moved in as the eventual replacement to Rinne. He’s been brought on as the starter on the second night of back-to-backs on most occasions. In other instances he comes in when Rinne is having a bad night. In those instances, the pressure is pretty low because the game is usually already out of hand. Now Saros has to start showing that he is ready to be the primary goaltender. He has to show that for a franchise that has always had elite goaltending, and he has to carry on that torch. There’s a lot of pressure in that task.

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In 31 games, Saros put up a 2.62 GAA and a save percentage of .915. Respectable numbers, but his high-danger save percentage of 80 slumped a bit relative to the rest of the league. That’s why we love Rinne, among many other reasons. He steps up and makes ridiculous saves that no human has business making. It’s helped Predators win many games they had no business winning.

Can Saros carry on those mythical saves that Rinne has made a career out of making? We’ll see plenty more of Saros, hopefully, closer to 40 games, this coming season. Is he truly ready to move ahead of Rinne? The last thing we need is a bad season from Saros, leaving the Nashville Predators uncertain about what to do at the expansion draft with Seattle coming in.