NHL Rumors: Buffalo Sabres, and the Nashville Predators

The Buffalo Sabres and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are talking extension

Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News: A source said that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s agent, Markus Lehto, has met with the Buffalo Sabres and they’ve started contract negotiations.

The 25-year-old will get a nice raise from his $867,500 after putting up career highs with 54 games played, 27 wins, 2.57 GAA, .910 save percentage, and five shutouts.

Potential comparables include Filip Gustavsson (three years, $3.75 million per), Juuse Saros‘ four-year, $5 million per deal (Saros was 25 when he signed), and Ilya Samsonov (three years at $3.55 million).

Evolving-Hockey projects Luukkonen at four years and a $5.2 million cap hit. That might be too high. In the $4.5 million range seems like a logical landing spot.

NHL Rumors: Buffalo Sabres, and the St. Louis Blues

The Nashville Predators would like to sign Juuse Saros to a contract extension

Robby Stanley of NHL.com: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros is eligible for a contract extension on July 1st and GM Barry Trotz plans on talking. The 29-year-old has one year left at $5 million.

“We’ll be in talks,” Trotz said. “I’m sure it’s not going to be definitely a July 1 announcement, probably. I think it’s going to be a process with his people, his representatives. But I do know this: wants to be here, and he’s been a big part of it. I’d like him to be here, so we’re going to work hard at getting something done with him.”

Saros likes it in Nashville and adds, “I believe in this organization, so obviously I would be happy to .”

The Predators’ top goalie prospect, 21-year-old Yaroslav Askarov was 30-13-1 with Milwaukee of the AHL, with a 2.39 GAA and .911 save % with six shutouts.

NHL Rumors: Devils and Predators To Discuss Juuse Saros Again in the Offseason

Nashville Predators will look to get younger and faster in their top nine

Alex Daugherty of The Tennessean: Nashville Predators GM Barry Trotz met with the media on Tuesday. He said they will look to get a little younger and faster next year, especially in their top nine. He wants his top three lines to contribute on a more consistent basis.

“Everything’s on the table,” Trotz said. “If we can get better through trade or free agency or acquisition or flip flopping assets with another team, we’ll do that.”

The Predators don’t have a ton of salary cap space and it will be tricky to re-sign all their pending UFAs – Jason Zucker, Anthony Beauvillier, Kiefer Sherwood, Tyson Barrie, Alex Carrier, and Kevin Lankinen – and bring in more pieces.

It sounds like they’d rather extend goaltender Juuse Saros as opposed to trading him. Trotz may not think Jaroslav Askarov is ready for full-time NHL duty just yet.