Nashville Predators Rumors: Yaroslav Askarov Linked to Oilers Trade Talk

Predators goalie Yaroslav Askarov (30) against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Predators goalie Yaroslav Askarov (30) against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been known for a while now that Yaroslav Askarov is the next one up in the Nashville Predators goalie pipeline, but it has always complicated the future of Juuse Saros.

Basically speaking, it’s hard to imagine the Predators keeping both Saros and Askarov for an extended period of time. And Saros will be a UFA in the summer of 2025.

In the most recent episode of “Got Yer Back” podcast, hosts Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug speculated on the hairy situation involving the Edmonton Oilers after waiving Jack Campbell and now in need for a replacement goalie for the future.

Oilers are a Mess at Goalie Right Now, Should They Be Interested in Askarov?

Rishaug is certainly not wrong to highlight Askarov as a potential trade piece Nashville could eventually look to move for the right price. But only if the Predators front office is absolutely married to Saros going the path of Pekka Rinne and being the long-term franchise goaltender that eventually retires with the franchise.

I can’t imagine Trotz rushing to trade Askarov unless it’s just a king’s ransom that he can’t refuse.

LeBrun pushes back on this notion of the Oilers trading for the former 11th overall pick, stating that Askarov hasn’t proven anything on the NHL level and it would be very risky for the Oilers to offer up anything Nashville will likely want.

Even more interesting, LeBrun goes on to say the Oilers would be better off trying to trade for Saros, but it has been made pretty clear that General Manager Barry Trotz has no intention on trading Saros.

“Not that there’s been any real speculation regarding a trade, Trotz swiftly dispelled potential rumors. Saying Saros as a crucial part of the Predators’ plans, Trotz praised Saros as a “special goaltender” and expressed his eagerness to secure the netminder’s future with the team.” -Barry Trotz on Not Trading Saros, Per NHL Trade Talk

I’m not against trading Askarov if a desperate team out there really loves Askarov and offers something heavy to the Predators. I’m thinking a mid draft pick and a starter on the NHL level. At minimum. Especially at this early stage when the Predators don’t have to be in a hurry to trade Askarov.

The clock will really start ticking on what will happen with Askarov in 2024-25. At that time Saros should have a new long-term contract extension signed, and Askarov will be the full-time backup with Kevin Lankinen have moved on as a free agent.

The Predators really need Askarov to be showing out on the AHL level this current season. He’s just in his second season in North America, and he’s blazing through his first five games with a .935 save percentage and 1.60 GAA.

Askarov’s last start was on November 4 in a game where he made 35 saves on 37 shots faced but still took the loss with only one goal of support from his Admirals teammates.

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Askarov has just one NHL start under his belt. He got an unexpected NHL debut on January 12 of this year in what was a wild game against the Canadiens. After giving up two goals in the first period less than two minutes apart from each other, he settled in to make some spectacular saves to finish with 31 saves and a .886 save percentage.

What’s the Best Move for Nashville Predators and their Three Goalies

The Predators need to be patient here. The phone will keep ringing on both Saros and Askarov as time rolls on until Saros is signed long-term. When and if that happens, the trade inquiries will get even louder for Askarov as long as he keeps playing at a high level for the Admirals.

There’s also always the possibility that Lankinen is traded at the 2024 trade deadline and Askarov is called up to be the backup to close out 2023-24 for the Predators. I actually like this possible scenario the most, as much as I appreciate the quality backup Lankinen has been to Saros.

One of these three has to be traded before next offseason. That is my firm belief. We have to see what Askarov can offer on the NHL level before we can really know for sure what trade value he can get, or if he’s worth keeping to take over for Saros.

Unless Trotz just has a complete change of heart or was playing the sly used car salesman on this subject, then Saros will eventually get a long-term contract and Askarov becomes a legit trade piece.

I’m trading Lankinen at some point before the deadline and bringing up Askarov to be the backup. If the Predators are long out of the playoff hunt, then you give Askarov a bulk of starts to close out 2023-24. Get yourself a decent sample size before 2024-25.

As it pertains to the Oilers messy goaltender situation right now, they probably are better served looking elsewhere. I don’t see the Predators front office rushing into trading Askarov right now, nor should they.