The goaltender debate rolls on
It feels like we’ve been having this talk about Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros for a decade now. In reality, it’s been about two years, but that’s not going to stop it from being a focal point once again in training camp.
I’m not convinced that the opening night starting role is completely locked in for Saros. He should be the top candidate going into training camp, but Hynes doesn’t owe him a starting spot with Rinne as the perceived backup.
Saros has earned the right to have the spot until something dramatically shifts that narrative through poor play. I don’t think we’re going to see enough one way or the other in training camp to remove Saros as the starter for the season-opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
With this new schedule that features a condensed 56 games and a lot of back-to-backs, who the primary starter is means less. Saros might get slightly more starts than Rinne when it’s all said and done, but not by much.
Both Saros and Rinne are going to be leaned upon heavily, as will be the case for most teams with two of their goaltenders.
Can Rinne capture his Vezina Trophy form from 2018 for one more run? Can Saros finally put the critics to rest and show he’s ready to take the torch from Rinne for the long run? These are two big questions that obviously won’t be answered in training camp, but I’m all in on seeing how they look leading up to January 14.
With no preseason games to get a gauge on Rinne and Saros, training camp will be important to see how sharp they are in drills and scrimmages. In the end, we won’t really know until the games are underway.