Saros future

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will have conversations this offseason with goaltender Juuse Saros regarding a new contract, general manager Barry Trotz said Tuesday.

Saros, 29, has one season remaining on a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million average annual value) he signed Aug. 16, 2021. He is eligible to sign a contract extension July 1.

“We’ll be in talks,” Trotz said. “I’m sure it’s not going to be definitely a July 1 announcement, probably. I think it’s going to be a process with his people, his representatives. But I do know this: [Saros] wants to be here, and he’s been a big part of it. I’d like him to be here, so we’re going to work hard at getting something done with him.”

Saros agreed with Trotz, saying that he wants to remain with the Predators for the remainder of his career.

“It’s a great city,” he said. “We have unbelievable fans, and I think as an organization we took a good step this year, too. I believe in this organization, so obviously I would be happy to [sign].”

Selected by Predators in the fourth round (No. 99) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Saros is 182-119-32 with a 2.63 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and 23 shutouts in 350 games (333 starts). He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goalie in 2021-22, when he went 38-25-3 with a 2.64 GAA, .918 save percentage and four shutouts.

This season, though, Saros posted career worsts in GAA (2.86) and save percentage (.906) and was the subject of trade rumors prior to the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. He said the uncertainty of his future with the team was on his mind at different times throughout the season.

“Some days you think about it a little bit more, and then some days not that much,” Saros said. “It’s just part of the business.”

Predators captain Roman Josi knows full well that sometimes the business side of the NHL can make things complicated but said he isn't worried too much about Saros' contract situation.

“That’s one thing I think you learn as a player, you never really know what’s going to happen,” Josi said. “All I know is [Saros] is our best player. He’s one of the best goalies in the world. ... He was unbelievable this year.

“He’s an amazing goaltender. Like I said, I think he’s one of the best goalies in the world, and he’s an amazing teammate as well. I think he’s only going to get better and better.”

The Predators selected goalie Yaroslav Askarov with the No. 11 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The 21-year-old spent the majority of this season with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League, going 30-13-1 with a 2.39 GAA, .911 save percentage and six shutouts in 44 games. Askarov also appeared in two games for Nashville this season (one start), going 1-0-0 with a 1.47 GAA and .943 save percentage.