Juuse Saros Set to Return to the Nashville Predators Lineup

(Photo Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports) /

All eyes are going to be on what Juuse Saros looks like for the Nashville Predators as he returns to the lineup from what was originally an injury that wasn’t entirely clear, but it ended up being an upper-body injury.

Saros suffered this injury back against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 2 after giving up two goals on ten shots faced in that game.

According to Adam Vingan of The Athletic, Predators head coach John Hynes says that Saros is available against the Florida Panthers as the team continues this long road trip that has them 2-2-1:

Most think the Predators are dead in the water, but if they pull off the unthinkable and get two wins over the highly-powered Panthers thanks to strong performances from Saros and Rinne, then things will get more interesting in the division race.

What the Nashville Predators need out of Saros

It’s been a rocky season for Saros over his 12 starts, while Pekka Rinne has taken control of the primary starting role and has shown some vintage play to keep the Predators from completely tanking.

If anything else, this is good for the Predators so that they can get Rinne some rest. He’s started every game in Saros’ absence despite Kasmir Kaskisuo being available as the backup.

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Saros has shown flashes of strong play and it’s certainly not all on him for why the team is currently in seventh place in the Central Division, and in real danger of falling in last place by season’s end.

For what it’s worth, Saros has absolutely dominated at least one division foe, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Aside from them, he’s lost all of his starts this season against every other team aside from one win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

A failing team can pull themselves out of the deep pit of failure behind two hot goaltenders. Rinne is showing that he’s capable of carrying the Predators to some victories, and now we have to see if Saros can do the same.

If both Rinne and Saros get hot at the right time, the Predators could actually make things interesting in the division race. A playoff berth is highly unlikely, but taking on the role of spoilers is something I could see happening.

For the more long-term future, Saros has to use the rest of the season to build some confidence and build his future value in the eyes of the organization or elsewhere in the NHL.

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Saros is due to become a restricted free agent this upcoming offseason, and the Predators have a difficult decision to make if the 25-year-old goaltender continues to struggled for the remainder of the season.

A positive development to come out of this for the Predators would be for Saros to rebound as he comes back from injury and strings together multiple quality starts. If he finishes strong, you absolutely should want to bring him back for the future rebuild and get a better team in front of the goaltenders.