Nashville Predators: Kasmir Kaskisuo Should See Some Starts

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo (50) stands for the national anthem before making his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo (50) stands for the national anthem before making his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

With this crazy and compact NHL season, injuries seem to be more commonplace. With Juuse Saros on IR due to a helmet-to-helmet hit and listed as day-to-day, goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo moved into the Nashville Predators’ lineup from the taxi squad.

Pekka Rinne is now in the starter’s role with Kaskisuo as a backup. Rinne took over for Saros during the previous meeting with Carolina on March 2 and so far has played in five games, including back-to-back games against Florida and Dallas and the start on Tuesday.

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With the Predators running the gauntlet of top Central Division teams in March, Kaskisuo should be a viable option to start even with his limited experience.

Offseason Acquisition

Kaskisuo started his hockey career playing for Jokerit in his home country of Finland. He also spent some time playing college hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Kaskisuo signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016 and spent time most of his time with their AHL team, as well as the Chicago Wolves.

With Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Troy Grosenick’s departure due to free agency, the Predators signed Kaskisuo, a free agent as well, to a one-year, two-way contract last October.

Welcome To The Nashville Predators

The intention was for Kaskisuo to spend most of his time with the Milwaukee Admirals as a backup to Connor Ingram. The pandemic changed those plans as Milwaukee wound up canceling their season.

In a deal that would allow Milwaukee players an opportunity to play this season, Admiral players were shipped to the Chicago Wolves, the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate.

According to his Youtube vlog, Kaskisuo was in Chicago for three days when news came down that Ingram would be taking time off from the team. Ingram being a member of the Predators’ taxi squad, Kaskisuo took his place in Nashville.

You Have to Play to Gain Experience

With the Predators currently trying to keep their head above water in their division, every point matters. Although a playoff appearance seems unlikely, if they are to have any hope of getting into the fourth spot in the standings, they have to string together several wins very soon.

Rinne is a true professional, and in years past, has seen several starts in a row. However, the desire to win should not overshadow their need to keep Rinne healthy.

We also don’t know for sure what Rinne’s intentions are past this season. He may decide to throw us all a curveball and stick around for another team-friendly deal.

Given the circumstances, Rinne has played well this season, but it may be a gamble to give him so many starts in a row. While the plan has worked out pretty well for the Predators so far, it could come back to bite them.

Saros is on this road trip with the team and is skating, but no timeline has been given for his return. In Saros’ absence and a viable backup in Kaskisuo, Rinne should get a rest, especially when the Predators will need him down the stretch.

Kaskisuo has only started in one NHL game for Toronto with less than stellar results. However, he is a professional who practices with the main roster players daily. It’s time to give him a start, if for no other reason than to see what you have in him as a goaltender in game situations.

With the possibility of retirement for Rinne and no word on Ingram’s future with the team, it would be wise to get Kaskisuo some experience this season. He hasn’t played a professional game in over a year.

With the season trending towards a rebuild and playoff hopes slipping further away, starting Kaskisuo would benefit the team and Kaskisuo himself.

If he stays with the Predators organization past this season, he could see significant minutes in Milwaukee next season. And who knows, the Predators may need him next year as well.

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