NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2023
Check out the latest on Predators’ goaltender Juuse Saros, goalies to watch as waiver candidates, and which Blues defensemen could be the odd man out this season in the NHL Rumor Mill.
TROTZ SAYS SAROS IS PART OF THE PREDATORS LONG-TERM PLANS
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz wants Juuse Saros to be part of the club’s long-term plans. The 28-year-old goaltender is in the second-last season of his four-year contract, paying him an average annual value of $5 million.
Trotz told LeBrun that he’s already reached out to Saros’ agent to determine their thoughts on discussing a contract extension. Whether the Predators are rebuilding or retooling, he wants his starting goaltender on the roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saros has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill this season as some pundits have suggested he could become trade bait given his contract status and the current state of the Predators. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2025 and his current deal plus his status among the league’s best netminders would make him an attractive trade target around the league.
The presence of promising Yaroslav Askarov also prompted questions about Saros’ future in Nashville.
Trotz is obviously keen to keep Saros but we’ve yet to hear what the goalie wants to do. It’s probably fair to say that he’ll be willing to listen to whatever the Predators GM is willing to pitch for contract offers.
The earliest the two sides can technically begin contract talks is July 1 of next year. However, they can get the ball rolling with casual discussions regarding the framework for a new deal.
If the two sides fail to reach an agreement on an extension Saros could become a trade candidate sometime during the 2024-25 campaign. For now, however, it appears that he won’t be shopped this season.
GOALIES TO WATCH ON THE WAIVER WIRE
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Tyler Yaremchuck discussed goaltenders they’re watching on the waiver wire as teams finalize their rosters for the upcoming start of the regular season.
Among the notables are Detroit’s Alex Lyon, Toronto’s Martin Jones, Montreal’s Cayden Primeau, Buffalo’s Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Los Angeles’ David Rittich, St. Louis’ Malcolm Subban, Florida’s Anthony Stolarz and Pittsburgh’s Magnus Hellberg.
Luukkonen was the name that most interested Yaremchuk, who wondered about his chances of clearing if he gets put on waivers. Seravalli pointed out that the Sabres have sufficient cap space to carry three goalies to start the season without putting Luukkonen on waivers.
Lyon and Jones are also fascinating names for Seravalli. He doubts the Leafs will head into this season with three goalies. He also indicated the Canadiens had yet to make a decision about Primeau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli also wondered about Stolarz’s situation with the Panthers but that’s been rectified with Spencer Knight being loaned to their AHL affiliate soon after this report aired on Friday.
The intrigue over what those clubs will do with their extra goalies is mostly due to pundits pondering what the Tampa Bay Lightning will do to address the loss of starter Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s out for a couple of months following lower-back surgery, leaving them with Jonas Johansson and his 35 games of NHL experience and 29-year-old rookie Matt Tomkins.
Most believe the cap-strapped Lightning could pluck one of these aforementioned goalies off the waiver wire to bolster their depth between the pipes until Vasilevskiy’s return. We’ll learn their intentions between now and Tuesday.
LATEST ON THE BLUES
Rutherford noted they have five defensemen battling for four positions if they opt to carry eight for this season or three spots if they carry seven. He thinks it could come down to Marco Scandella or Calle Rosen. Both are in the final season of their respective contracts.
Scandella carries a cap hit of $3.275 million plus a seven-team no-trade list making him difficult to move. Rosen wouldn’t fetch much of a return as a depth player but there’s a risk that he might not clear if placed on waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If push comes to shove it’ll likely be Rosen as he’d be the easiest to move.