Recent report suggests Nashville Predators could trade Juuse Saros this offseason

Speculations have gone back and forth for almost a year now on whether or not the Preds will trade their franchise goalie.
May 3, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY SportsNashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) blocks the puck against the Vancouver Canucks
May 3, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY SportsNashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) blocks the puck against the Vancouver Canucks / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the NHL offseason is inching closer and closer and closer, and we are now less than two weeks from the start of free agency, and ten days from the draft. As far as the Nashville Predators are concerned, the big debate remains what Barry Trotz should do with Juuse Saros, who has one year left on his contract.

Many are of the opinion that the Predators should keep him, and that is understandable knowing the hit the team would take in net, and the unknowns at the position moving forward. On the other hand, why give him $8M+ per year when they have an expected blue chip talent in Yaroslav Askarov who should see NHL action very soon?

Recently though, we might have gotten some clarity on the situation between player and team moving forward. An article from The Fourth Period suggested that the Predators are aware of where things stand between both sides and that they would be more inclined to trade him, rather than pay him the lucrative amount he desires.

Why a trade of Juuse Saros would make sense for Nashville Predators

As mentioned, the Predators have Saros on an expiring contract while also having Askarov in the system, who has a few years of AHL experience under his belt now. Askarov has not been perfect in the AHL and did not play super well in the playoffs this year, but by all accounts is still expected to be the future in net for the Predators.

Plus, we have heard from Barry Trotz that no matter what the team does, they cannot and will not sacrifice the future. That is not to say that Saros could not be the guy for the future, but if we are talking about which goaltender is more of a player for the future, it is Askarov over Saros.

And yes, rolling the dice at goaltender can be risky and for years, I personally had been under the impression that teams cannot win Stanley Cups without great goaltending. But I have started to challenge that belief of mine in the recent past, and JFresh on X posted something the other day that proved that elite goaltending in the playoffs is a great help, but is not absolutely required to go deep.

Now, no list of statistics is perfect and you have to dissect each example for what it is, but overall, that list is a mixed bag of performances and names. The thread also shows that in relation to how much cap space each Cup-winning goaltender was taking up, it is all over the place from year to year.

There is no one reason that makes trading Saros sensible for the Predators, but the combination of them shows why doing so would be more effective and efficient than paying him $8M+ per year.

And in the aforementioned article, the Predators are linked to several of the forwards, and we know that Trotz is looking to make some big improvements to the forward core. It can be done with Saros still around, but trading him would give them even more room to improve the top and upper-middle six, so it makes sense that they might opt to move on.

What a return in a Saros trade might look like for Predators

There is of course no guarantee that Saros gets traded, let alone who he would be traded to if something does materialize. But the recently published article specifically mentioned the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings as potential suitors for Saros.

If we are looking at the Maple Leafs, the one name that comes to mind is Mitch Marner, and the article even linked him to the Predators in a potential trade. If that were to happen, the Predators would likely send Saros, another player like Gustav Nyquist, and a combination of picks and prospects to Toronto in exchange for Marner.

Saros and Marner are arguably the two biggest names to watch as potential trade candidates this offseason, and such a move between their respective teams will be heavily watched for. It would be one of the biggest trades that has happened in awhile and has a realistic chance of happening.

As for what a return would look like if the Kings were involved in a trade, it is a little less clear cut. They do not have a big name player who is rumored to be on the trade block, so it is more likely that they and the Predators would go down the draft picks and prospects route in return for Saros.

If a more established player were to be sent from the Kings to the Predators, it would ideally be Adrian Kempe, but it is hard to imagine the Kings being willing to move him. Maybe a reunion with Kevin Fiala could be in the works, which would be a bit funny but seems like a long shot.

A realistic return from LA would almost surely include their 1st round pick this year, plus a prospect or two. Brandt Clarke is someone who comes to mind, and Quinton Byfield has been discussed but is less likely now with how he has established himself at the NHL level.

Arthur Kaliyev is also another realistic option and was even included in that article from The Fourth Period. He was not linked to the Predators, but once again things could always change and between his trade request and the Kings' desperation for a goaltender, they may not have much leverage there.

No matter how this goes, it seems like Trotz will have his fair share of offers for Saros, and it will be fun to see how this unfolds over the next several days.