Juuse Saros only continued to get stronger during the 2021-22 season, and has shown no signs of slowing down. As one of the top goaltenders in the league, Saros is sure to carry a lot of weight for the Preds as we prepare for the 2022-23 season.
As we continue on with our Nashville Predators 2022-23 season previews, let’s take a look at Nashville’s Vezina Finalist goaltender.
Rinne’s Prodigy Continues his Starting Role in the Blue Paint
At this point, who doesn’t know of the father/son relationship Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros developed over the last few years, and when the time came for Rinne to step down, Saros didn’t disappoint.
Juuse Saros is easily in the top 3 of goaltenders in the National Hockey League, and its easy to see why. During the 2021-22 season, Saros clocked in at a .918 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average. Going back to 2020-21, his stats were even better with a .927 save percentage and 2.28 goals against average.
While Saros’s numbers may have fallen a little during the 2021-22 season, keep in mind he started the season lights out, but was very overworked, playing in 67 matches. Towards the end of the season, his numbers fell a bit likely due to his workload. Kevin Lankinen will be needed to help ease the workload for Saros, as David Rittich wasn’t quite able to be the reliable backup the Predators needed last season.
Saros’s signature skill is his lateral movement. He can go post-to-post in nearly an instant to keep the puck from crossing the red line. There have been numerous occasions where he has bailed out the team when the opposition has a 2-on-1. Just look at this save on Rasmus Kupari of the Los Angeles Kings.
Expect Juuse Saros to grow his game and get back to those 2020-21 numbers, especially if Lankinen can serve as a solid backup. As Saros begins to enter his prime, we should be in for a fun showing.
2022-23 Predictions for Juuse Saros
As for my predictions for Nashville’s star goaltender, he is certain to be the starter. I expect Saros to only grow his game as he enters his prime, and carry the team on his back when they need him.
I’m confident Juuse Saros can hit his 2020-21 numbers, but his workload is going to have to be more bearable. Starting in 67 games is a tall task, and keeping up his level of production with that type of workload is going to be a challenge. I expect Kevin Lankinen to be a serviceable backup so that Saros can be lights out from opening night to the end of the regular season.
As for my final predictions for Saros, I can see him posting a .925 save percentage with 2.20 goals against average. With Lankinen coming in and showing brilliance with Chicago in 2020-21, I believe Saros can get the rest he needs and continue to be the backbone of the Nashville Predators. While Lankinen may not have had a stellar 2021-22 season, I attribute that to playing on a horrendous Chicago Blackhawks team.
The crease undoubtedly belongs to Saros, and I expect him to keep showing us why he owns it. Saros will only get better from here, and boy am I excited to see him work this upcoming season.