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Predators Bring Back Mitch Korn To Oversee Goaltending Department

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Photo of Mitch Korn, center, and Barry Trotz courtesy of the Nashville Predators

Mitch Korn is returning to the Nashville Predators in a new role.

General manager Barry Trotz announced Wednesday the team has hired Korn to serve as director of goaltending. He will oversee the organization’s goaltending department, which includes goaltending coaches, current players, prospects and the scouting of amateur and professional goaltenders.

Korn spent 16 years under Trotz as Nashville’s first-ever goaltender coach from 1998-2014.

“I am incredibly excited to return to Nashville and the Predators organization,” Korn said in release. “I last worked here 10 years ago, so I am looking forward to re-connecting with all the people who are still part of the Predators family, and to meeting and working with all those who have come on board since.”

Korn’s reunion with the Predators comes as the team’s future at the position remains unsettled.

Incumbent starter Juuse Saros has one season remaining on the 4-year, $20 million extension he signed in 2021. If Nashville doesn’t re-sign or trade Saros before next offseason, he will become an unrestricted free agent.

Prized prospect Yaroslav Askarov showed he may be NHL-ready during a strong regular-season performance with the Milwaukee Admirals, but he’s since struggled in the AHL playoffs, posting a 2-3 record, 3.25 goals-against average and .882 save percentage across five games.

Pending UFA and backup Kevin Lankinen could seek more playing time elsewhere if the Predators opt for a Saros-Askarov pairing in net, though he may return in other scenarios.

Trotz believes Korn’s experience will help the Predators as they work through their goaltending question marks.

“Mitch’s resume speaks for itself,” Trotz said. “He has an uncanny ability to communicate the language of goaltending to his players in a way that helps them easily understand how he is trying to make them better. With Mitch at the helm of an already impressive goaltending department that includes Ben [Vanderklok], Jason [Barron] and Pekka [Rinne], I’m confident that our franchise’s longtime success at the position will continue to grow.”

Korn worked with goalies in Buffalo (1991-98) before arriving in Nashville the first time. He also spent time as an assistant with Washington (2014-18) and as director of goaltending for the New York Islanders (2018-24), overlapping with Trotz at both stops and winning the 2018 Stanley Cup with the Capitals.

Goalies playing for Korn have won five Vezina Trophies, three William M. Jennings Trophies and two Hart Trophies. Some of the most successful players he’s coached include Rinne, Tomas Vokoun, Martin Biron, Dominik Hasek, Braden Holtby, Thomas Greiss and Ilya Sorokin.

Familiarity played a key role in Korn’s return to Nashville, he said. In addition to his longtime relationship with Trotz, Korn hired Vanderklok – the team’s goaltending coach since 2014 – as his minor-league assistant in 2009.

“He has done an amazing job during his time with the Predators, and we’ve maintained a strong friendship and working relationship in this industry,” Korn said of Vanderklok. “Along with Barry, Ben was instrumental in having me return to the place where my family and I made so many memories.”

Follow Russell Vannozzi on X/Twitter @RussellV_MSP.

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