Give Juice more rest to stay fresh for playoffs
I’ve been a little surprised by just how much the Predators have relied on Juuse Saros through the first 46 games of their season. Saros currently leads the NHL in starts with 38, while also leading th league in shots face by nearly 100:
MOST SHOTS FACED, NHL GOALTENDERS
As the season wears on, Saros is going to need to stay fresh. A mentally and physically wore down Saros could end up spelling disaster for the Predators not only if they make the playoffs, but also over the final few weeks of the regular season.
David Rittich was signed over the offseason to be Saros’ backup after Pekka Rinne announced his retirement. Rittich has only managed six starts, and he’s almost certainly had a hard time getting into a rhythm with so much time between starts.
Why go through the trouble of signing Rittich in the offseason if you’re rarely going to use him? They could’ve moved forward with Connor Ingram if this was their plan. Ingram is showcasing this year with the Milwaukee Admirals that he’s more than ready for a backup role in the NHL.
As for Rittich, he’s more than capable of putting together some quality starts and giving Saros more rest down the stretch. We have to keep Saros fresh, and also reduce the chances of a catastrophic injury that could completely derail the Predators season if that were to happen.
I don’t think Rittich is a compete liability if you play him more. Again, not sure what the end plan was over the offseason to add Rittich if he was rarely going to be used even in situations where it makes sense to give Saros a breather. Need him 100 percent in the final weeks.