The Nashville Predators will be heading into the playoffs with two capable goaltenders to choose from, but in spite of the fact that the two men had drastically different seasons it sounds like there is a goaltending battle potentially taking place in training camp.
We are just one week away from the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round kicking off on the 1st of August and it sounds like Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes has still not made a determination on who he will be starting in goal. It will not be an easy choice for Hynes either with established veteran Pekka Rinne experiencing a clear slump in form during the regular season competing against goaltender Juuse Saros who would be entering the playoffs with very little postseason experience under his belt.
"At this point, I don't have anything that I can share," said Hynes stating that it was still "early in the process."
In the past Rinne would have been the go to goaltender, however he posted a 3.17 goals against average and a .895 save percentage in the regular season, numbers that could quickly put an end to a team's playoff run regardless of how good the team is in front of him. Saros on the other hand appeared to steal the number one spot from Rinne during the regular season, making 40 appearances and posting some better numbers than Rinne with a 2.70 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. That would appear to make Saros the frontrunner coming into training camp, but those numbers were in games played months ago so who knows what is going at this stage of camp.
Over the last decade no goaltender other than Pekka Rinne has started a playoff game for the Nashville Predators, but it sounds like there is at least a chance that things could change in these upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.