Nashville Predators: Invaluable Experience For Connor Ingram

The next few years will see some changes in net for the Nashville Predators. Is Connor Ingram next in line to be one of the Predators full-time netminders, or is a move out west in his future?

Before the AHL’s season ended early due to the pandemic, the Milwaukee Admirals were well on their way to winning the Calder Cup due in part to the excellent goaltending of Connor Ingram.

Ingram is now trying to make his case for a roster spot with the Nashville Predators.

Ingram came to Nashville via trade with Tampa Bay in 2019 for a 7th-round pick. He immediately began to make an impact for the Admirals.

In 33 games last season, Ingram had a 1.92 GAA and a .933 SV%.

Ingram is one of the top goalies in the AHL. While he has yet to play in an NHL game, his time is coming.

What’s ahead in 2021

While it’s painful to type, the reality still exists. We will probably be witnessing Pekka Rinne’s final season with the Predators and possibly in the NHL.

The assumption has always been that for the 2021-22 season, Ingram will make a move to the Predator’s full-time roster as a backup to Juuse Saros.

Ingram made the trip with the Predators to the Edmonton bubble for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. While he never saw any playing time, the trip was invaluable to his development as he practiced with the team.

Ingram is now in Nashville, attending the Predators’ training camp and receiving even more valuable time with the team.

Head Coach John Hynes inserted Ingram into the Gold team’s lineup for the third period of Friday night’s scrimmage. In the short 16-minute period, Ingram faced lots of pressure from the Blue team that featured the JoFA line, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis.

There had been a lingering question about which goaltender would be on the Predators’ taxi squad. All teams are required to carry at least three goalies for the entire season.

On Saturday, the Predators had placed several players on waivers, including goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, answering the taxi squad question.

The upside for Ingram is that he will be traveling with the team and getting a sneak peek into life in the NHL. The downside is he may not see any playing time unless there are issues with Saros or Rinne during the season.

Beyond Next Season

Once this crazy, shortened season is over, there will be another lingering issue that concerns Ingram’s future with the Predators. On July 21, 2021, the Seattle Kraken will hold their expansion draft.

The Predators will undoubtedly protect Saros for the upcoming draft, exposing Rinne and Ingram.

Even if Seattle takes a chance on the aging Rinne, it is a moot point as Rinne will more than likely retire.

Ingram would be a prime candidate for Seattle. He is a young player with lots of upside. Ingram would make an excellent backup who could eventually become a starter.

With the upcoming expansion draft and the impending arrival of Yaroslav Askarov in a few seasons, Ingram’s future with the team is a little cloudy at present.

If Ingram can avoid the draft and become Saros’ backup in 2021-22, the Predators should have a great tandem to carry them into the future. Or at least until Askarov is ready for his NHL debut.