The Nashville Predators have avoided arbitration with the man that will be their number one goaltender for the foreseeable future, and that is of course great news for everyone involved including the team, the player, and the fans.
On Monday morning National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman broke the news that the Predators and netminder Juuse Saros had come to terms on a new 4 year agreement that would keep him in Nashville. Friedman reports that the new contract extension will see Saros earning a total of $20 million over the length of his contract, which works out to an average annual value and cap hit of $5 million per season for the Predators.
This actually matches the salary that was previously being earned by starting netminder Pekka Rinne during his final two seasons with the Predators, but of course Rinne is no longer on the books having announced his retirement earlier this offseason.
The deal comes as no surprise given the circumstances and frankly this has to feel like a pretty solid contract for the Predators. Saros was nothing short of outstanding for Nashville last season recording a 2.28 goals against average and a .927 save percentage over 36 regular season games, numbers that placed him among the upper echelon of goaltenders in the league last season. His solid performances continued in the playoffs with a 2.79 goals against average and a .921 save percentage over 6 playoff games for Nashville.
The length of the deal is also something worth noting here as it could play a huge role in how the Predators roster shapes out over the course of the next 4 years. It is no secret that Yaroslav Askarov, the Predators first round pick (11th overall) at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, is viewed by many as the goaltender of the future, but at this stage of his career the stand out 19 year old goaltender has just 10 KHL games under his belt. Within the 4 year time frame of this deal however he could very well be poised to take over the starting position from Saros, something that the Predators and general manager David Poile no doubt considered before agreeing to the 4 year term.