Report: Predators Could Have "Inside Track" On Necas Trade—Under 1 Condition

Practically every team in the National Hockey League has checked in with the Carolina Hurricanes on restricted free agent Martin Necas. Everyone knows he wants out, and the offers have been coming fast and furious for new GM Eric Tulsky. 

But one team—the Nashville Predators—can vault ahead of the competition, says insider David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, if they include a certain goaltender in their offer:

There are some around the league who wonder if the Predators will gain the inside track if they include goalie Juuse Saros in a (larger) trade. Nashville has known since mid season what type of contract Saros is looking for—$8 million to $8.5 million per year on a long-term extension—and it still doesn't sound like they are overly interested in dishing out that contract.

Saros, of course, is one of the top netminders on the market this summer, and after Jacob Markstrom was dealt by the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils earlier this month, that list is a very short one. Saros is entering the final year of his deal and is eligible for an extension. The Hurricanes have been looking for a No. 1 between the pipes for the past year. 

Meanwhile, the Predators have top young goalie Yaroslav Askarov waiting in the wings, and he was just named the top goalie prospect in the AHL this season. How much longer can the Preds keep the young Russian down on the farm? The 22-year-old went 30-13-1 in the regular season for the Milwaukee Admirals with a .911 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average along with six shutouts.

Askarov is going into the final season of his entry-level contract, and with a new deal on the way for him in the not-too-distant future, it's hard to see Nashville also handing out a massive deal to extend a 29-year-old Saros. Including him in a deal to try to land Necas certainly makes some sense. 

Photo: © James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports