Juuse Saros signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Monday. It has an average annual value of $5 million.
The 26-year-old goalie, who was a restricted free agent, avoided a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
“Juuse has proven himself as one of the best young goaltenders in the NHL, and we are very pleased to have him remain our No. 1 goaltender for years to come,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “While being mentored by Pekka Rinne, he has spent the last several seasons growing and taking steps physically and mentally to become a top goalie in this League, as evident by his spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2017-18 to finishing near the top of Vezina Trophy voting this past season.”
Saros was 21-11-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and three shutouts in 36 games (35 starts) with the Predators last season. Among NHL goalies to play at least 15 games, he was tied with Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers for fourth in save percentage and tied for ninth in GAA with Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.
Saros took over as Nashville’s No. 1 goalie midway through the season after splitting time with Pekka Rinne, who retired on July 13. He then went 2-4 with a 2.78 GAA and .921 save percentage in six games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Predators were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round.
“Juuse gives our team a chance to win in every game he plays, and we feel confident that with him leading the tandem we’ve established with David Rittich (signed one-year contract July 28), our goaltenders will be a large part of our success in 2021-22,” Poile said.
Selected by Nashville in the fourth round (No. 99) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Saros is 76-47-17 with a 2.50 GAA, .920 save percentage and 14 shutouts in 155 regular-season games (139 starts), and 3-7 with a 2.63 GAA and .914 save percentage in 17 playoff games (10 starts).