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The Likelihood Of A Juuse Saros Trade Is Greater Than You Might Think



Juuse Saros
Photo of Juuse Saros by John Russell/Nashville Predators

For weeks now, Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz has been telling anyone who will listen that he is open to hearing out any trade offer for star goaltender Juuse Saros, but unless a team is willing to hand him the moon and the stars, a deal is unlikely to happen.

But during a radio interview with 102.5 The Game on Tuesday, Trotz’s tune changed ever so slightly.

“He’s been a special player, no question,” he said. “But at the same time, you have to listen for the long-term as well. If an asset comes that you just can’t envision yourself getting — and our strength is goaltending — then you would have to consider [trading Saros]. And I told him that.”

In addition to Trotz’s remarks, sources indicated to Nashville Hockey Now that the Saros situation is a little more serious than the Predators simply listening to offers, and there’s a chance that Trotz is sincerely considering trading the 28-year-old goalie.

His potential change of heart is, in part, because of the massive salary that Saros is likely to command once he’s eligible to sign a contract extension in July. Word is that Saros’ camp is eyeing the seven-year, $59.5 million deal that Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck signed in the offseason as the benchmark for any negotiations.

Since 2019, both goaltenders have had similar bodies of work. Over that span, Hellebuyck ranks first in shots against, saves, save percentage and minutes played, while Saros ranks second in the first three categories and third in minutes played.

But paying $8 million per year or more to a single player is something Trotz has little interest in doing, even if the player he’s paying is one of the NHL’s elite goaltenders.

So where does that leave things?

I’ve been told a few teams have inquired about Saros, and Trotz is sticking to his guns in asking for a haul in return.

It’s been speculated that several teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs have looked into upgrading in goal in preparation for the postseason. Three of those teams — Carolina, L.A. and New Jersey — have been recently linked to Saros as possible landing spots.

“They’re looking for a high-end offensive player, and this is just me spit-balling, but I’ve wondered about a guy like (Martin) Necas,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said Tuesday on “The Jeff Marek Show.” “…That was the first guy out of my head because I think Carolina is going to have a challenge getting an extension done with him after this season. That to me, is one that on paper, I could look at it and say it’s a need for both teams.

“…If New Jersey is looking at a guy like Markstrom, they’re probably looking at Saros too. L.A. has got to be another team looking at [him]. … One guy who would seem to make some sense to me in L.A. is (Arthur) Kaliyev. He’s not playing…that makes sense to me as the kind of guy the Predators would look at, but you’re not making a Saros for Kaliyev trade. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

Both players are intriguing options, but of the two, Necas is more in line with what Trotz is looking for in any potential Saros deal.

A 25-year-old forward who put up 28 goals and 71 points last season, Necas has the second-most goals (16) and third-most points (35) on the Hurricanes this season. He would give Trotz a young offensive player to build around — one that could stabilize the top six, play serious power-play minutes and finally give the Predators two legitimate scoring lines.

Necas alone won’t get a deal done, however, and Carolina would have to include another sweetener to persuade Trotz to pull the trigger like forward prospects Justin Robidas or Jayden Perron.

If the Kings were to truly be players for Saros, they would have to be OK parting with either Quinton Byfield or Alex Turcotte in addition to Kaliyev plus a high draft pick or two to even pique Trotz’s interest.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_

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