Nashville Predators Running Out of Time to Unload Juuse Saros for Anything Substantial

The thought of trading Juuse Saros has been floating around for a while now, and now it's crystal clear that it's the most logical decision for the long-term.

Nashville Predators v Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators v Minnesota Wild / David Berding/GettyImages

You can respect General Manager Barry Trotz for giving the Nashville Predators a little time to figure things out before committing to a trade deadline strategy, but there's really nothing left to learn before March 8.

Perhaps Trotz was waiting to see if the Predators would come flying out of the All-Star Break like gang busters, but a difficult slate of opponents and more proof that this team has weaknesses all over, and Juuse Saros isn't the savior that can cover it all up.

The top priority for the front office right now has to be working tirelessly to find a trade partner for Saros. That doesn't mean you rush to the first offer that comes along and get fleeced, but you definitely have to be serious about it now. No more mincing words. Time just isn't on your side anymore.

Is Saros' Trade Value Plummeting with Each Horrendous Start?

Saros is by far having the worst statistical season of his nine-year NHL career, with this only being his third season as a full-time starter. He has finished third and fourth in the Vezina Trophy voting in the first two full-time years, but won't even come close to getting a single vote this season.

The reason why time isn't on Trotz's side in regards to Saros is that the franchise's goalie's stock is plummeting. The more beatdowns he takes like he did in Thursday's absolutely humiliating 9-2 loss to the Dallas Stars, the more other general managers are going to grow skeptical and get cold feet.

With that said, time is of the essence not because Saros won't get offers regardless, but because those offers are going to get less and less bountiful if you don't trade him before the 2024 deadline, and then Saros continues to get roasted the remainder of the season.

We already know that Trotz isn't going to cave to some lowball offer just to move on from Saros. It's going to take something massive, and time just isn't on our side anymore to make this happen.

Saros' worst season save percentage, not counting the one game he played in his NHL debut season of 2015-16, is a .914 save percentage in 34 starts in 2019-20. He's currently sitting at a .901 save percentage and giving up more than three goals per game.


Additionally, Saros has been chased out of his starts five times this season, including the Dallas game this past Thursday when he surrendered four goals on 18 shots in the first period. To be fair, Kevin Lankinen looked just as bad in relief and the Nashville defense was awful, to put it mildly.

If I was a goalie desperate front office who was ready to unload a lot of assets for Saros just a month ago, then right now I'm growing more and more cautious.

Some general managers will be willing to take the risk, but not for the same price tag they once might have considered. You better have strong convictions that Saros just needs a better supporting cast than Nashville is giving him, whether that be more goal support or better defensive structure. Both are true in Nashville's case of doing neither for Saros. They're 19th in goals per game and 24th in goals against per game.

Trotz's Demands for Saros Might Be Too Much to Get a Deal Through...Then What?

The benchmark for Trotz to trade Saros is rumored to at least be one, if not two, first round picks, a proven NHL starter who has high offensive upside and a prospect. The more Saros struggles, the more you can forget about that kind of package. I still think with the right team, you can get that offer.

Finding a team willing to part ways with a coveted offensive NHL starter of their own is the key to striking a deal that works for Nashville. You need someone with high upside for the long-term future that can immediately be a quality offensive producer in the top-six.

The Carolina Hurricanes are a team I can't get off my radar as potentially being all in on acquiring Saros. They're a top Stanley Cup contender if they get better goaltending. They've juggled five goalies who have appeared in at least one game this season, with 24-year-old Pyotr Kochetkov giving them the best results, but can he be trusted in the playoffs when it's Stanley Cup or bust for your team?

Another team that's in full on desperation mode to even make the playoffs is the New Jersey Devils. They would have to free up some cap space to bring Saros in, so they are a good bet to trade with a get a couple decent players in return.

With all of the notable struggles this season for Saros, he did showcase his ability to look elite by stopping 43 of 46 shots in the loss to the Devils on Tuesday, which was another blown lead by the Predators.

The Los Angeles Kings have been a popular link to Saros, but I have my doubts that they're going to offer anything substantial that's going to satisfy Trotz. They're currently bouncing between Cam Talbot and David Rittich. Neither are ideal for a Stanley Cup run, so you can play that angle to push the Kings to offer up something big.

The Edmonton Oilers were linked to Saros earlier in the season before their long winning streak, but since have rediscovered Stuart Skinner so they're not as desperate as they once was.

The Devils seem like the most likely team to make the best trade offer for the Predators to consider for Saros. But is Trotz going to be willing to take less than he wants for Saros? That is still a mystery, but it brings me back to the original point. The longer this drags on, and the more Saros takes these devastating starts that chases him from the game, the more you're going to get backed into a corner.

Then you fast forward to Saros' last season under contract in 2024-25. Could he return to being a top-3 goalie next season and watch his trade value soar again for the 2025 trade deadline? That could definitely happen, but it's a major risk as well.

Goalie trades are complex and my doubts remain high that this actually ends up happening. After the trade deadline passes and Saros isn't traded, the more likely outcome is Saros finally gets his long-term extension. Then you just hope that this is a one-off fluke of a year and that Trotz starts focusing on building a much better roster around Saros.

Saros hasn't been great by any means, but this team has offensive consistency issues, special teams issues, major breakdowns defensively, and of course even the lack of effort and determination has also been questioned.

The best time to trade Saros would've been months ago, but Trotz wanted to cling onto the hopes of returning to the playoffs again. And the team went on a winning stretch in November and December. Now the trade interest may have cooled off for Saros.

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