Saros Up, Lindbäck Down

(Photo Credit: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins)

The Nashville Predators have recalled Juuse Saros and reassigned Anders Lindbäck from the Milwaukee Admirals. This is the second time in two weekends that the Predators put Saros into road games with the Admirals before calling him back up to the NHL. Saros has lost all four appearances with the Admirals and Lindbäck has yet to make an NHL appearance to date.

Press Release via Nashville Predators:

Nashville, Tenn. (December 3, 2017) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Sunday that the club has recalled goaltender Juuse Saros from the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. Additionally, the club has assigned goaltender Anders Lindback to Milwaukee.

Saros has made four appearances for the Admirals this season, stopping 97 of 111 shots in 238:12 of action. In five starts for Nashville in 2017-18, Saros is 1-3-1 with an .870 save percentage and earned the win on Nov. 4 against Los Angeles as the Preds defeated the Kings, 4-3, in overtime. Last season, he made 19 starts for the Preds, going 10-8-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

Originally a fourth-round (99th overall) draft pick by the Preds in 2013, Saros holds an 11-12-4 career record in the NHL. The Forssa, Finland, native recorded his first NHL shutout on Dec. 30, 2016, at St. Louis and appeared in two games for Nashville in last season’s Stanley Cup Final. Saros is 42-13-1 in 57 career games at the AHL level with a 2.23 goals-against average and .921 save percentage and was named to the AHL All-Star Classic in 2016-17.

Before this season Saros had never lost three consecutive appearances in his AHL career with the Admirals. This season, on two weekend slated trips down from the Predators with the Admirals, Saros is 0-3-1-0 with a 3.53 goals against average and 0.874 save percentage. It isn’t purely on him at all. I would casually say that Saros has perhaps had one truly outstanding team performance in front of him for a single period of the twelve he has been witnessed to. That came when the Admirals rallied back from down 4-2 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the third period to force overtime – where the Admirals would lose 5-4.

I’m genuinely not sure at all what the Predators or Saros gain with these “here again, gone again” starts with the Admirals on the road where he can’t possibly be gaining an ounce of confidence with the way the games have gone. Meanwhile Lindbäck, who has been white hot with the Admirals this season, isn’t getting much more than a temporary bump in salary on recall to the Predators combined with a great seat to watch Pekka Rinne. It’s all very strange and stinks of the same confusion the Predators had last season when they gave up on Marek Mazanec before dumping him in favor of the much hotter hand in Milwaukee.

What are your thoughts on how the Nashville Predators are currently working Juuse Saros and Anders Lindbäck? Should the Predators go out of their way to acquire a more established back-up for Pekka Rinne if they don’t have the confidence in either Saros or Lindbäck to be that guy?

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