Predators' Juuse Saros Still Popping Up in Oilers Trade Rumors, Will Trotz Budge?

This things is never going to die until the Predators decide to re-sign Juuse Saros to a long-term extension. And the Oilers need a goalie in a bad way.
Dec 19, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) watches the
Dec 19, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) watches the / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Don't expect the trade rumors to die down on Juuse Saros anytime soon. If anything, they're going to keep amplifying as teams become much more desperate for a goalie, and the Nashville Predators might just not be able to resist a lucrative offer on their franchise goalie.

As far as we know, General Manager Barry Trotz doesn't have any plans to trade Saros. Nothing has indicated even the slightest thought that he wants to trade his cornerstone goalie, but that doesn't mean he's not thinking about it behind closed doors. It would only be natural.

As a general manager you have to do your due deligence. Even if Trotz doesn't prefer to trade Saros, it doesn't mean he shouldn't entertain all offers that come his way.

Oilers Would Be Legit Stanley Cup Contenders if They Got Saros

Oilers fans are so desperate to get Saros that they're drawing false conclusions just because he got yanked early in the loss to the Canucks on Tuesday, and showed clear frustration in the tunnel. Something you don't hardly ever see from the calm, cool and collected former Vezina Trophy finalist.

One post on X got a lot of traction putting Saros in an Oilers uniform. Well done by the poster, and it definitely got fans talking. It would be a gigantic upgrade from Stuart Skinner and Cal Pickard, their current two goalies. Jack Campbell was sent down to the minors after clearing waivers.

The discourse is fair game because Saros has just one more full year left on his contract after this one. Then he's due for an enormous pay increase, all while the Predators have one of the top goalie prospects in the world in Yaroslav Askarov also ready to make his NHL jump by that time.

If a team like the Oilers were able to push a trade through to get Saros right now, it would be a game changer for their Stanley Cup hopes. It's really their huge missing piece. Can you imagine Saros in top form leading an Oilers team with Connor McDavid and company? They would launch to the top of the list for Stanley Cup odds.

If you're the Predators, it will be really hard to say no to the Oilers if they want to overpay for Saros. This might be the best offer you ever get for Saros, but by trading him before the 2024 trade deadline, it could also wreck your hopes of making the playoffs this season.

This is why I have my doubts that Trotz will pull the trigger on this. He wants to win now. He has the pieces he wanted in the offseason playing well and contributing, that being Ryan O'Reilly and Gustav Nyquist. The Predators are 13-4-0 over their last 17 games and in the top wildcard spot.

A lot of Factors in Play, Including Askarov's Progression in the AHL

Unless the Predators drastically fall backwards in the standings in the next month, then Trotz is going to be hard to convince to trade any of his core players away. If anything, he might become a cautious buyer at the deadline.

The Oilers aren't in a position cap wise right now to add Saros' contract through a trade unless they make several subtractions of their own. The Predators would likely add to their top end draft capital, and getting at least one first round draft pick would be non-negotiable for me if I'm giving you Saros.

If Trotz comes around on entertaining a trade of Saros to the Oilers, he has to be a tough negotiator or just walk away. The Oilers are the more desperate team in this situation, not the Predators. But if the Oilers want to overpay and offer a couple high quality prospects and a couple high end draft picks, I'm not necessarily against it.

My more realistic scenario on how this all plays out is Kevin Lankinen is traded before the 2024 deadline. Get whatever you can out of him, which won't be much, and then that gives the green light for Askarov to finally make the NHL jump.

Depending on where the Predators are in the standings, you give Askarov a few starts and hopefully he's not a complete liability. You need to get a good sample size from him before going into 2024-25. That's when the clock will be really ticking on either re-signing Saros or trading him.

Askarov hasn't been lights out by any means with Milwaukee in 13 games this year. Just a 7-6-0 record with a .908 save percentage. Middle of the road.

A lot of this does hinge on how the Predators scouts and coaches feel about Askarov's progression. If they're not super confident in his current development path to the NHL to eventually trade Saros, then the front office is going to be more inclined to re-sign Saros and pass on Askarov. Then Askarov becomes the trade bait.

So as you can see, a lot of moving parts that can't be sorted out right now. Trotz would have to really feel confident in Askarov's readiness to be a fulltime starter, or Lankinen for that matter, to pull the trigger on a trade of Saros who has Vezina Trophy caliber skills. It would rival the Shea Weber-P.K. Subban trade as the biggest trade in Predators franchise history.

We're just over two months away from the 2024 trade deadline, so a lot can change between now and then that can shift Trotz's line of thinking. I just don't see him budging right now. Saros, up until Tuesday's ugly showing, was the hottest goalie in the league over the last month. We know he starts off slow and then begins to pick up steam.