Predators Keep Saros for Two More Years, Roll the Dice in Free Agency
This is a risky proposition the Nashville Predators could end up going down. Keeping Saros throughout the two years remaining on his current deal, because having him always gives you a chance to be a surprise team that gets hot at the right time.
The scenario of letting Saros’ deal run through its entirety and not trading him means that you could fail miserably in retaining him in the offseason of 2025. But if you trade him before that time, then the Predators are signaling that the rebuild is going to take a bit longer.
That brings us to Yaroslav Askarov, the prized goalie prospect in the Nashville Predators system who really will dictate what happens with Saros. Furthermore, how much improvement will Askarov show in his second full season with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL?
As long as Askarov has a solid second AHL season, then he will get full-time backup duty in 2024-25. However, just like Saros, Askarov could become trade bait if the front office decides to put all of their cards on keeping Saros for the long-term future.
One year of backup duty for Askarov behind Saros would be in 2024-25. Is that enough NHL playing time to feel fully confident in letting go of Saros and giving the keys to Askarov? I’m not so sure about that.
It is a fair possibility that the Nashville Predators remain all in on trying to chase a Stanley Cup with Saros for two more years and then just live with the consequences when that time comes.
Again, that is a major risk while also understanding that the roster around Saros isn’t of a Stanley Cup caliber. But ultimately it’s a win now league, and the Predators are going to try to win now while they still have Saros at a bargain price for two more years.
Final Verdict and Predicting Saros’ Outcome with Predators
Out of all three scenarios just mentioned, my gut tells me the organization is going to show loyalty to Saros and do everything they can to keep him for years to comes, just like they did with Rinne. This means Askarov likely gets traded, but not necessarily right away. It could take a season or two of being Saros’ backup before that happens.
There is no guarantee that Askarov lives up to what many scouts believe he’ll be, whereas we know what we have in Saros and he’s entering his prime at age 28.
I can see Askarov being Saros’ backup for two seasons, and judging by how he performs in backup duty, that will dictate if he becomes a valuable trade commodity. Bottom line, I’m trading Askarov before I trade Saros.