It gets lost in the shuffle if you didn’t follow the Nashville Predators in the early days spanning from the inaugural season in 1998, but Vokoun was the great franchise goaltender before Pekka Rinne came along.
Vokoun recently told the Nashville Predators official website about his time spent with the franchise, and also his personal thoughts on another cornerstone goaltender in Saros.
A Former Nashville Predators Great to a Current One
What I find most interesting about Vokoun’s thoughts is him saying if Saros was just a little bit taller, he’d be the best in the league.
It’s hard to argue against that assertation from Vokoun, who in his own right was among the best in the NHL during his playing career.
For his size, Saros is incredible at what he does between the pipes. His speed and agility is what makes him so amazing to watch.
There’s no doubting it that Saros is up against some enormous pressure heading into his second full season as the main guy. Last season he got his first career Vezina Trophy nomination, but it was a stacked goalie field and Igor Shesterkin rightfully beat Saros out.
Saros has a Vezina Trophy in his future, and I’m already on record of stating he’ll accomplish that this year. He has a better defensive team in front of him and should be coming in refreshed after a season that ended prematurely due to an injury that kept him sidelined in the postseason.
To get a ringing endorsement from an accopmlished goaltender like Vokoun is high praise for Saros.
Vokoun sits in second place in franchise history in most of the goalie categories. with both Vokoun and Saros being neck and neck in save percentage. Of course Rinne leads all those categories.
Vokoun’s best season with the Predators was probably his last season with them in 2006-07 when he put up 27 wins, a .920 save percentage and five shutouts. He finished fourth in the Vezina voting.
I recently wrote a historical piece ranking the top-10 players for the Nashville Predators over the last decade. Vokoun ended his time with the Predators in 2007, but I’d have to think strongly about adding him in the top-10 all-time. At the very least, top-15.
Saros will likely pass Vokoun on the franchise lists with three more seasons left on his current contract with the Predators. If the team shocks the NHL world before that contract is up and trades him, I’ll be speechless.
Even though the Nashville Predators definitely upgraded their roster around Saros, they’re still a team that won’t go too deep in the playoffs unless Saros remains at a high level. Some highly skilled teams can get a way with average goaltending, but the Predators aren’t one of those teams.
It’s always awesome hearing from the old school players who helped build the Nashville Predators into a formidable team after having some difficult years out of expansion. Vokoun is certainly one of those Predators alumni you have the utmost respect for as we watch Saros continue to build his legacy with this franchise.