Predators Sign Juuse Saros

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Image source: Google images

Moments ago, the Nashville Predators announced that they have signed 2013 draftee, Juuse Saros to a three-year, entry-level contract. Due to this deal, he is expected to begin his North American career during the 2015-16 season. Here is word from the official Predators press release about the Finnish goaltender:

Saros, 20 (4/19/95), appeared in 47 of HPK’s 60 Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga) contests in 2014-15, ranking among the league’s Top Five in shutouts (6), minutes played (2773:53), save percentage (.929) and goals-against average (2.14) in his second full season in the league. He was named 2013-14 Finnish Elite League Rookie of the Year after ranking second among the Top Three in goals-against average (1.76), and save percentage (.928) becoming just the fourth goalie to win the award in its 40-year history. During his final Finnish junior league season in 2012-13, the Forssa, Finland, native was named best player and recipient of the Jorma Valtonen Award as the league’s top goaltender after leading all netminders in goals-against average (1.86) and save percentage (.933).

The 5-11, 176-pounder represented Finland at both the World Championship and the World Junior Championship for the second consecutive year in 2015, backing up Predators netminder Pekka Rinne at the 2015 World Championship and stopping all 22 shots he faced in his lone appearance of the tournament against Slovakia to record Finland’s third of four consecutive shutouts. At the 2014 World Junior Championship, he led Finland to its first Gold Medal at the tournament since 1987, receiving Media All-Star Team honors after leading all goaltenders in save percentage (.943) and goals-against average (1.57) in six games. He was also named Best Goalkeeper of the 2013 Under-18 World Championship and one of Finland’s three best players of the tournament in helping them claim the bronze medal.

With Saros’ signing, that ultimately means someone has to go. You have Rinne and Hutton on the NHL level, and Marek Mazanec and Magnus Hellberg in waiting with Milwaukee. Well, it has already been stated that Carter Hutton isn’t going anywhere (definitely not Rinne, either), and Mazanec has been goalie-in-waiting. Though Hellberg is good to have in the system, it’s time for this kiddo so spread his wings and get some ice time elsewhere.

Preds sign KHL Forward Steve Moses

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Source: Google Images

Ahem… moving forward from Tuesday’s disastrous lose to the Colorado Avalanche (we see you, refs…), the Predators announce that they have signed KHL forward, Steve Moses to a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2015-16 season. Moses, who is 25-years-old, is best known for setting the Kontential Hockey League’s goal-scoring record in 2014-15 for Jokerit, a team based in Helsinki, Finland. Here’s a little more info on the newest addition:

The 2015 KHL All-Star also tied for seventh in KHL points this season (36g-21a-57pts, 60gp), helping Jokerit to a 40-win campaign. The Leominster, Mass., native spent his first two professional seasons with Jokerit, then in the Finnish Elite League, in 2012-13 and 2013-14, amassing 61 points (34g-27a) in 97 games. In 2012-13, Moses led the league in game-winning goals (7), and paced all rookies in goals (22).

The 5-9, 172-pound winger played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire from 2008-12, recording 98 points (47g-51a) in 148 collegiate games, including 22 goals in 37 games as a senior in 2011-12, which ranked him among the Top 15 in the NCAA. Moses played his junior hockey with the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL from 2005-08.

The Predators finish out their regular season home game tonight against the Minnesota Wild and boy, do they have to have a few things going for them in order to gain home ice advantage. The Predators will need a regulation or OT win along with a regulation loss for Chicago tonight in order to gain home ice in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s Off to Europe for Rinne, Hornqvist, & Josi: Who’s Next?

Pekka Rinne, Patric Hornqvist, & Roman Josi have hit the trail to Europe.

With all of September’s preseason games cancelled and three already missed, the Predators (along with players across the league) are struggling with the decision of wether to wait out the NHL Lockout or head over seas to continue what they do best.

Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Alexander Semin have been vocal about their departure for the ‘Mother Land’, prompting fellow NHLers to consider the same decisions, wether they nestle in the KHL or not.

Rumors have been swirling around particular Preds, with Martin Erat supposedly returning to the Czech Republic and Sergei Kostitsyn possibly signing with a KHL team, but the only truth for Predators fans is this: Pekka Rinne has signed with a KHL team, Patric Hornqvist signs with Sweden, and Roman Josi (who actually made his announcement earlier in the week) returns to Switzerland.

Amidst rumors of him signing with the Finnish Elite League, Pekka was adamant about settling with a KHL team instead of one in his native Finland. Rinne will be goaltending for Dinamo Minsk out of Belarus during the duration of the lockout.

Patric Hornqvist naturally returned to Sweden, signing with Djurgården, a key team of Sweden’s Allsvenskan league. Preds’ first rounder Pontus Aberg is active on Djurgården’s roster, giving Hornqvist the opportunity to help the youngster prepare for (maybe one day) a shot in the National Hockey League.

Roman Josi was the first to announce his departure to Europe under the Predators roof, shipping back to S.C. Bern of Switzerland. Former Pred J.P. Dumont played for S.C. Bern last season, gaining eight goals in just 31 games. Josi is expected to hit the ice for S.C. Bern on September 29th.

With Pekka, Patric, and Roman packing up and heading overseas, it’s only a matter of time before the other members of the Nashville Predators inevitably agree to the same decision. As mentioned, SK74 and Martin Erat are already in negations with European teams, so only time will tell when they sign.

The NHL and NHLPA have scheduled a formal meeting on Friday to discuss options on the current lockout, hopefully coming to some sort of an agreement.