Judging Likelihood of Nashville Predators Dealing Juuse Saros Based on Ben Bishop Trade in 2017

Feb 29, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a
Feb 29, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators have extended their winning streak to seven games and as the days go by, it seems less and less likely that they will trade Juuse Saros. Even if they would get a big return if they traded him, doing so is hard to justify when the team is on fire and has a seven-point advantage over the first team out of the playoffs.

Barry Trotz was already demanding a haul-and-a-half in exchange for Saros, and now the asking price would surely be something unreasonable. If things do not go the complete other way in Nashville in the next six days, it is hard to imagine he is not on the Predators to end the season.

Besides the team-specific circumstances, the chances of a Saros trade were not the highest ever because major goaltender trades rarely happen in the NHL. To get any sort of recent blueprint as to how likely it is that he gets dealt, you have to go back seven full years ago.

Saros' situation with Nashville Predators is closest to Ben Bishop's inTampa Bay in 2017

The Tampa Bay Lightning were in a similar situation in 2016-17 to where the Predators are now, not only in the standings but in net. Their elite starter in Ben Bishop was needing to be big time paid soon, and they had a young and highly anticipated talent in Andrei Vasilevskiy for the future.

The Bolts had to make a decision on Bishop soon, and they ultimately shipped him off right before the Trade Deadline. On February 26, 2017, they sent Bishop and a 5th round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Peter Budaj, Erik Cernak, a 7th round pick, and a conditional pick that did not meet the condition.

The Bolts essentially punted on the season and invested in the long-term stud, and they certainly do not regret it since Vasilevskiy has helped them win two Stanley Cups. It is easy to look at the result of that decision and say that the Predators need to trade Saros, but when you go beyond the surface, the situations are not as similar as you might think.

When you compare this year's Predators to the 2016-17 Lightning in terms of points and standings, the Predators have 70 points right now, and the Lightning at the time had 62. The standings that year might have been a little different than they are now, but looking at both the current Western and Eastern Conferences, 70 points is the bare minimum for a playoff spot.

The Lightning that year would be eight full points out of a playoff spot if it were this year, and that is quite a bit of a difference in the standings. Plus, it is certainly not like they had won seven in a row or anything right before Bishop was dealt.

The Bolts right around the 2017 Trade Deadline were worse than the Predators in terms of momentum and place in the standings, so it was much easier for them to be comfortable trading Bishop.

The Bolts also had to act with much more urgency in their situation than the Predators have to now, because Bishop's contract was expiring at the conclusion of the season. Saros still has one more year on his contract, so the Predators can revisit the idea of a trade this offseason and be alright.

Saros is unlikely to play poorly and ruin his trade value before then, so there is no reason for Trotz to accept a deal unless the time and price are exactly right. Letting him go now would all but ruin their playoff chances at a time when a decision can wait, so the fact that the Predators do not have to do it now makes it that much less likely.

Another factor that is being overlooked is that Yaroslav Askarov is not what Vasilekskiy was like in 2016-17. Vasilevskiy had a full year plus under his belt as a backup goaltender in February of 2017, so the Lightning had seen enough to where they felt comfortable trading Bishop.

Askarov has played in three total games at the NHL level, and while he certainly has not been bad, he is far less proven at the NHL level than Vasilevskiy was. Yes, Askarov has backed up the hype around him so far but the Predators essentially do not know what they have in him yet, and they will not until he plays in at least one full season as a backup.

It is definitely not a requirement for Askarov to have experienced an actual NHL season for Saros to be traded, but shows why it is not very likely at this point.

When the Lightning traded Bishop, everything lined up for it to happen, and they could do it without any second doubts. That does not happen very often, but must in order to justify midseason goaltender trades, and it is not happening right now for the Predators.

It might happen for them soon, but they are doing too well to jettison their elite goaltender when he is still under contract after this season. And considering that the heir apparent has virtually not played in the NHL, the Predators would have to receive an unheard of type of return to make the deal.

You never truly know, but history tells us that Saros will not be going anywhere at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline.