Nashville Predators and Juuse Saros Agree to Eight-Year Contract Extension

Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators - Game Six
Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators - Game Six / Brett Carlsen/GettyImages

It was looking more and more unlikely that the Nashville Predators were going to trade Juuse Saros, as smoke of him being traded had only increased in the past few days. It was getting down to the wire and something had to give, and ultimately the two parties reached a resolution less than 24 hours before the NHL Draft.

The Predators and Juuse Saros agreed on an eight year contract extension that will pay him $7.74M per year. Word was that he was looking for north of $8M per year, and ultimately, he ended up compromising and making it possible to get the deal done.

It is worth noting that the extension does not kick off until the 2025-26 season, and for that reason it will not be truly official until the new season starts on July 1. Regardless, the Predators have gotten their most important piece of business done early, and can now make other moves much more easily.

Nashville Predators solidify future at goaltender with Saros extension

The Predators have said that they want to build for the future, and it seemed like rolling with Yaroslav Askarov was the optimal move instead of paying Saros both top dollar and term. It is hard for me to be truly thrilled with the move, but it does not mean Saros cannot be a guy for the future, and given how everything went down, it is understandable why Barry Trotz opted to retain him.

First of all, he took a hometown discount to stay with the Predators, so they are getting a player who is being underpaid relative to his value, if anything. It also proves that Saros really wanted to remain in Nashville, and that is always a good look for your team and organization.

Secondly, with how things were looking on the goaltender trading market, the Predators might have not gotten anything worth it in return anyway. The Jacob Markstrom trade was an unfavorable sign, and the most recent Linus Ullmark trade was even worse news for a potential Saros trade.

Considering that they were almost certainly going to lose trade negotiations, but appear to have won contract negotiations, it is hard to blame Trotz's decision. But people will truly criticize him if he does not make a corresponding move and trade Askarov.

Rumor has it that the Predators plan to keep Askarov for next season, but that is no foregone conclusion and hardly makes sense. They certainly cannot plan on having Askarov for the future at this point, and with the team having several holes on the roster, how does Trotz not take advantage of him being a trade asset?

The Saros extension in a vacuum is fine but will be questioned since elite goaltenders are not always needed, and because the Askarov question is now looming over the Predators. If they do not deal him, it will be fair to ask what the plan truly is.