When the Nashville Predators made their final deal of the 2023 trade deadline, general manager David Poile disclosed to reporters that he told fellow GMs that goaltender Juuse Saros and captain Roman Josi were untouchable during all trade talks.
However, Poile wasn’t exactly telling the truth.
A Hockey Now source with firsthand knowledge of the situation confirmed to Nashville Hockey Now that the Predators and Los Angeles Kings had discussions prior to the trade deadline about a possible deal for Saros. Nashville’s asking price started with two first-round picks in 2023 plus more — a deal that L.A. balked at, ending the discussion.
The Kings addressed their goaltending need not long after talks ended, acquiring goalie Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for goaltender Jonathan Quick, a conditional 2023 first-round draft pick and 2024 third-round pick.
Although the Kings cleared Cal Petersen’s $5 million salary (the same as Saros) off the books on Tuesday and they still have a clear need in goal with just Phoenix Copley and Erik Portillo under contract for 2023 (Korpisalo is an unrestricted free agent), it’s unlikely that the Saros trade is revisited in the offseason as L.A. is without a first rounder in 2023.
Saros’ future with the Predators has been in question since Poile announced his retirement in February and a subsequent passing of the torch to GM-in-waiting Barry Trotz, who has said on several occasions that he’s open to any and all trade offers other teams want to pitch to him.
— Michael Gallagher (@MGsports_) February 18, 2023
While parting with Saros will make the Predators worse in the short-term, the haul they could get for a 28-year-old Vezina Trophy-caliber goalie under team control for two more seasons at a reasonable $5 million-per-year salary, could benefit the team long-term in terms of draft picks and prospects.
The 5-foot-11 Finn posted a 33-23-7 record with 2.69 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 63 starts last season. Among qualified goaltenders, Saros ranks second in save percentage (.919), third in wins (109), shots faced (6,421) and saves (5,901), fourth in total ice time (11,970:19), fifth in goals-against average (2.61), and sixth in shutouts (13) since 2019.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_
(Photo: David Russell for Nashville Hockey Now)