#4: How Will the Starts be Sorted out for Juice and Lanky?
Kevin Lankinen was re-signed to another one-year deal when the thought was he might be traded at the deadline. Lankinen gets a bump from $1.5M to $2M for the 2023-24 season as Juuse Saros‘ backup.
Lankinen has no doubt earned it, and he’ll get plenty more starts to close out this current season. The Predators have five more back-to-back scenarios remaining on their schedule, and a lot of games crammed in between.
The Predators don’t have more than one day off between games until the final week of the regular season. Lankinen and Saros should split the starts down the stretch and not just start Lankinen on back-to-backs.
If the Predators are going to quickly move through what they’re calling a “reset” and remain competitive into 2023-24, then obviously Saros and Lankinen will have to be one of the better goaltending duos in the NHL.
This is also why I can’t completely write off the Predators from making the playoffs with 20 games remaining. If both Saros and Lankinen can hit their own hot streaks and steal some wins, then maybe the Predators can go somewhere in the neighborhood of winning 13 or 14 games and keeping the postseason streak alive.
More than anything, goal support has to get much better and that’s a tall order with so much roster turnover and sorting things out. Either way, I’ll be watching closely to see how Saros and Lankinen finish what has been a rollercoaster 2022-23 season for the Nashville Predators.
The Nashville Predators continue their long road trip with a matchup against the LA Kings. The Predators have been away from home the entire month of March going 2-1-1.