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Maple Leafs should check in on the asking price for Juuse Saros
By Shane Seney1 month ago
This doesn’t feel like a season for blockbuster trades in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving shouldn’t be checking in on the asking price of some big names. Insert Nashville Predators netminder, Juuse Saros.
Saros is having a down season, to his standards and has posted a 18-16-1 record along with a 2.96 GAA and .903 Sv.%. The 28-year-old is on pace for one of his worst seasons statistically of his career. Don’t let that fool you, Treliving should be calling Predators GM Barry Trotz to get a sense of what it would cost to acquire Saros this upcoming offseason.
Saros Has Been One of the League’s Best
The Predators netminder was fourth last season in Vezina voting and was third in 2021-22, so there’s some history there of production. A career .918 Sv.% is nothing to shake a stick at. Especially on a mediocre team in Nashville, who are punching above their weight-class at the moment.
Saros would give the Maple Leafs one of the league’s premier goalies, who is in the prime of his career and it’s been a while since that could be said in Toronto. The Leafs window to win is right now and they need a pure #1. Saros would give them one in spades.
Predators Will Listen to Offers
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic recently mentioned the Preds have not put Saros on the trade market and aren’t actively shopping their number one goalie. However, even though Trotz would like Saros to be a part of the team’s re-tooling, with the goalie market heating up across the NHL, LeBrun points out that Trotz will listen to serious offers.
For Toronto that doesn’t mean shipping off their 2024 first-round pick and Nick Robertson, that’s not going to get the Predators attention. One of Joseph Woll or Matthew Knies could get Trotz attention. Too much for Treliving to consider? Time will tell.
Nashville has one of the best goalies currently not in the NHL with 21-year-old Russian netminder Yaroslav Askarov lighting it up in the AHL. Askarov has appeared in two NHL games this season, posting one win and a very impressive .943 Sv.%. He’s managed to put up great numbers in the minors as well, with a .922 SV.% in 2o games. It’s not a matter of IF, it’s WHEN for Askarov to be the man in Smashville.
Maple Leafs Have Limited Options This Summer
Martin Jones and Ilya Samsonov are pending unrestricted free agents and aren’t necessarily in the Maple Leafs long term plans. Woll is signed for peanuts at just $766,667 and will be a restricted free agent after next season. The team has control there and is a good spot with the 25-year-old netminder.
22-year-old Dennis Hildeby has turned heads with his strong play with the Marlies but couldn’t be trusted enough to play this season after being called up during Samsonov’s ‘reset’. A tandem of Saros and Woll, with Hildeby waiting in the wings as the #3 could be a great set in Toronto and would become an area of strength pretty quickly.
The free-agent goalie market is ultra thin this upcoming offseason. Veterans Cam Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury could be out there. Same could be said for Antti Raanta and Alex Nedeljkovic. Saros is leaps and bounds better and unlike any of these options, is in the prime of his career.
Treliving has been known to be a GM who loves to check in on just about everyone, so it’s likely he’ll have some conversations with Trotz and see what the Preds’ GM is thinking. A very outside chance a deal comes to fruition this summer but the Maple Leafs should at least be checking in on the asking price.
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