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NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators

Canadiens prospects; NHL Rumours

It’s time for another edition of NHL rumours. We’re down to the final eight in the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, but we’re talking about non post-season teams in this roundup. These clubs are going to have to do some work in the offseason to fix some of their problems. This could be making some offseason deals via signings or trades. Today’s NHL rumours surround the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators.

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: The Athletic’s Arpon Basu took a look at what the Canadiens management wants their next deal for Juraj Slafkovsky to look like.

Analysis: Slafkovsky is a restricted free agent at the end of next season. However, the former top overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft can sign a contract extension as of July 1. Anyone that is heading into the last year of a contract can sign a contract extension once the calendar flips to July.

The Slovakian forward is currently making $950,000 on his entry-level deal. Slafkovsky made some great strides in his game this season. The 20-year-old hit the 20-goal mark this season for the first time and there’s a lot of excitement about his future.

Montreal’s leadership of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes have been very proactive in locking up young talent. This is to establish a solid core. Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki could have tried to make a play for big money. However, they both decided to play ball and get long-term deals. Suzuki is locked up until 2029-30 while Caufiled is signed until 2030-31.

Both players are making a shade just south of $7.9 million. Hughes and Gorton are hoping to sign Slafkovsky to a similar deal. This would allow the Canadiens to start focusing on other issues. These three deals could end up being bargains for the Habs the way hockey-related revenue has been growing.

Nashville Predators

Rumour: Robby Stanley of said the Predators are working on a contract extension for goaltender Juuse Saros.

Analysis: The Predators may have lost to the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs. However, Saros’ improved play in the second half keyed the team to a post-season berth. The Finnish netminder has one more year left on his deal, but can sign an extension on July 1.

Saros makes $5 million, but might be looking for a pay raise with his next deal. The 29-year-old is 182-119-32 with a 2.63 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and 23 shutouts in 350 games. He’s been a Vezina Trophy finalist and looks to be the Predators goalie for the next few years.

Predators General Manager Barry Trotz said the team and Saros have been in talks. Saros has also said that he wants to play in Nashville for the rest of his career.

The goalie was the subject of trade rumours, but Trotz decided to hang onto his netminder. This move seemed to pay off with an unexpected playoff spot.

One thing that could complicate things is young goalie Yaroslav Askarov. The 21-year-old was taken 11th in the 2020 NHL Draft and has been tearing it up in AHL Milwaukee. Some are calling for Askarov to take control of the crease and flip Saros for other assets.

However, the Predators seem to have a long-standing tradition of waiting for goalies to develop. This has been a trend since the days of Mike Dunham and Pekka Rinne. Rinne and Saros were allowed to develop their game with the Admirals and were called up when the time is right.

This seems to be what Predators’ management is doing with Askarov. Saros seems to be the man at least for the next few seasons and management wants to pay him like a starting goalie.

Main photo by: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


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