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Positions in review - Goaltending

May 6, 2019, 8:34 AM ET [16 Comments]
Paul McCann
Nashville Predators Blogger •Predators Radio Network • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A pair of good ones tonight as there could be two close out game tonight… until then…

One of the time-honored traditions of the off season is to review the team, breaking it down by position and trying to determine what is needed to help them next season. We will do this as well… starting with the goaltending… we will review the blueline, forwards, coaching and special teams in future posts.

The goaltending situation is Nashville is solid for the foreseeable future. Pekka Rinne is signed for the next two seasons as is Juuse Saros. A transition has begun from mentor to mentee and by the time Rinne finished this next contract, Saros should be the starter.

Pekka Rinne is beginning a two year deal that pays him $5 million per season. The big Finn will be 37 come November but hasn’t shown signs of slowing down just a season off his Vezina winning campaign. Rinne continues to make his mark as the Nashville starter and seems to enjoy being pushed by his protégée, Juuse Saros. Rinne’s save percentage and GAA were both in line with his career numbers and his playoff performance was also in line with expectations. Rinne is still an elite level goaltender and it is this observer’s opinion that the number 35 may be the first one raised to the Bridgestone Arena rafters.

Juuse Saros really came into his own this season, proving that he could be relied upon as a starter during a six game stretch early in the season when he covered for an injured Rinne, going 4-2-0 posting a shutout during that stretch. He got 27 starts last season and should end up in the 30-35 start range when all is said and done. He posts very consistent numbers as a backup, however the big question… as with all transitions from backup to starter… how does the player handle the pressure of the number one designation? It’s the last question that Saros needs to answer on his path to the starter’s crease in Nashville.

The current situation in net is a strength of this franchise. A well-ordered transition is underway and it is an area of little worry as we sit here at the end of the 2019 season. If you want to quibble, you can look at a scarcity of prospects in the pipeline… Troy Grosenick did a decent job in Milwaukee… but beyond that, only Tomas Vomacka shows some real NHL potential… he had an excellent season at UConn and may be on a solid path to be the backup for Saros when Rinne’s deal expires.

Next up… the blueline.

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The Playoff Status section
Second Round
The Eastern Conference
(2) Boston vs. (WC2) Columbus – BOS leads 3-2 – Game 6 – Tonight – 6pm - NBCSN
(2) NY Islanders vs. (WC1) Carolina – CAR wins 4-0 – Next up – Eastern Conference Finals

The Western Conference
(2) San Jose vs. (WC2) Colorado – SJA Leads 3-2 – Game 6 – Tonight - 9pm - NBCSN
(3) St. Louis vs. (WC1) Dallas – Series tied 3-3 – Game 7 - Tomorrow – 7pm – NBCSN

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Random Notes

- Signing – The Preds announced the signing of Mathieu Olivier to a two-year entry level contract.

- Bellevue Update – Ford Ice Center Bellevue is moving along in the construction process and is still on schedule for a September opening.

- MVP – You can vote for the Preds Season MVP on the Preds app.

- RIP – Legendary hockey great Red Kelly passed away last week at the age of 91.

- Holland-day? – Looks like Detroit Red Wings mastermind Ken Holland is headed to the Edmonton Oliers.

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