#2: Kevin Lankinen
Remaining Contract: UFA in 2023
Kevin Lankinen is another example of why this 10-game stretch leading up to the trade deadline is so crucial for the Predators who just keep hanging around the playoff bubble. If they fade backwards and fall around eight to 10 points out of the wildcard, you have to move on from Lankinen and get what you can, which should be decent.
Lankinen has been outstanding backing up Juuse Saros, and there’s are teams kicking themselves for not signing him as their starter in the 2022 offseason. He has played like a goaltender who should be starting regularly somewhere.
With that said, if the rest of the season becomes planning for your future, I say you call up Yaroslav Askarov to finish out the season with Saros, and even balance the starts out more generously in favor of Askarov.
Of course, if the Predators remain in this position of being just a few points out of the playoffs, they’ll retain Lankinen for the remaining grind and part ways with him for nothing in the offseason. Have to keep it on the table to deal him off regardless.