Saros Arbitration Is A Bad Look For The Nashville Predators

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

The NHL’s free agency signing period is in full swing, with many new contracts and players moving to different teams. On July 27, the Nashville Predators extended qualifying offers to eight of their restricted free agents, including goaltender Juuse Saros.

On July 2, the NHL Player’s Association announced that 17 restricted free agents from around the league filed for salary arbitration, including Saros and defenseman Dante Fabbro.

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Salary Arbitration hearings will take place beginning August 11 and will conclude on August 26. RFAs participating in arbitration can sign a contract with their team at any time before their ruling.

Now that we have all of the details sorted out let’s take a look at how ridiculously ludicrous it is that Saros had to file for arbitration in the first place.

Saros Proved His Worth Last Season

The Predators struggled mightily in the first half of last season, having a 1% chance of making the playoffs at the midway point.

However, something clicked with the entire team at midseason. The Predators started playing like a team on a mission, posting a six-game win streak on their way to the playoffs.

And while there were some good performances by others, Saros was the main driving force that got the team to the playoffs, often keeping the Predators competitive in games where they struggled offensively and defensively, for that matter.

Saros finished the season with a .927 SV% and a 2.28 GAA. He also tallied three shutouts bringing his career total to 14. And while he finished 6th in voting for the Vezina trophy, many felt that he deserved to be in the top three.

During the playoffs last season, Saros faced a staggering amount of Shots Against and 20 Goals Against but still managed a .921 SV% and a 2.78 GAA. Had the team in front of him performed better, Saros could have carried Nashville into the 2nd round of the playoffs.

A Bad Look For The Nashville Predators

If there was any question about Saros’ ability to be the Predators’ top goaltender, he erased all doubt with his performance in the second half of last season and the playoffs.

After supplanting friend and mentor Pekka Rinne as the top goaltender in Nashville, Saros is clearly the present and the future and deserves fair compensation.

Obviously, we don’t have any insight into salary negotiations. However, the fact that Saros was the best goaltender in the NHL at one point last season should give him some clout.

Still, it isn’t very reassuring to see Saros have to file for arbitration in an attempt to retain a salary that is consistent with his performance last season. Nashville needs to give him a contract that he deserves.

My guess is that management will resolve this situation before the arbitration deadline. Both sides should reach an agreement in a timely fashion, which we can all agree would be good for all parties involved.

Fan sentiment for the Predators and GM David Poile is at somewhat of a low point entering this “competitive rebuild.” This move forcing Saros into arbitration is not a good look for the team, especially when you are looking for your franchise goaltender to have a banner year and continue building on the momentum he gained last season.

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