If you’re like me you find yourself every now and then forcing yourself to stop and think about a certain player to really appreciate just how good they are. Juuse Saros is one of those special types of talents. He arrived for his first professional season of North American hockey last year as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL and never showed any signs of struggling to adapt to a brand new style of hockey. He was only 20-years old last season and made that leap look effortless. To put it bluntly. That doesn’t happen.
Saros is where he is now because that’s how good he is. It’s just that simple. He works so incredibly hard and puts tremendous amounts of time in away from the rink to hone in what he needs to do to be a success on the ice. The results as a member of the Admirals say enough about that. In his AHL career he went 42-10-0-0 from 53 career starts with a 2.13 goals against average, 0.924 save percentage, and 5 shutouts. That is an AHL career winning percentage of 79.2%.
You knew it was time for Saros to be given the nod with the Predators as a back-up when on 11/17/16 he earned a 35-save shutout for the Admirals in a 1-0 road victory over the Cleveland Monsters after having been stationary for just shy of two weeks without game action. That is how good, how prepared, and how mentally strong he already is as a 21-year old.
Saros now finds himself backing up a fellow Finn in Pekka Rinne. The two share a very great goaltending tandem relationship and one that extends away from the rink, as well. Rinne houses Saros as well as another Finn in the form of Miikka Salomäki. Rinne helps his young teammates out whenever he can and sets a great example of not only how to be a professional on the ice but off of it. For as talented as Saros is at such a young age having someone like Rinne around to assist in that respect could pay dividends for the years to come.
Cheers to the Nashville Predators and Juuse Saros for providing me the time to hear from our ol’ Milwaukee Admirals player all grown up! Based on fan voting tomorrow we’ll be hearing from Calle Järnkrok followed by Anthony Bitetto and Miikka Salomäki on Monday.
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