Will the Preds Decide to Pull the Trigger on Trading a Goalie in 2024?
We've heard a lot of rumblings about Juuse Saros being a desired trade acquisition for teams, most notably the goalie starved Edmonton Oilers. I just don't see Trotz trading Saros unless things really unravel over the next month or so. Even then, my probablity on that happening is low.
However, Kevin Lankinen intrigues me as a viable trade option if the Predators have no desire to re-sign him in the 2024 offseason anyway. That would give Yaroslav Askarov a path to get some backup duty starts to close out 2023-24.
I realize the popular thought is to not rush goalie prospects, but I also believe getting Askarov a handful of NHL starts behind Saros wouldn't be a bad thing. It would give the organization a sample size of how far along Askarov is in his development.
Lankinen could fetch a mid-round draft pick in a trade before the deadline in March. Stockpiling draft picks is a great strategy for Trotz to have as he continues to rebuild while also still competing for a playoff spot.
I'll be decently surprised if Trotz doesn't trade Lankinen before the March trade deadline. Lankinen has been used sparingly just like in his first season backing up Saros. He has just seven starts and a 3.16 GAA.
If Lankinen were to be traded before becoming a UFA this summer, then the Predators will have to make the decision of either calling up Askarov fulltime or finding another backup for Saros in free agency.