The Nashville Predators face a dilemma regarding star goalie Juuse Saros this summer. Saros is a free agent following the 2024-25 NHL season. Nashville could certainly work out a contract with their star netminder. However, they would certainly have a robust market if they entertained trading him. One interested team is likely to be the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils entered the 2023-24 season with playoff ambition. New Jersey made the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2023. And they were coming off the best regular-season finish in franchise history. However, the team stumbled this past season before missing the playoffs. Their goaltending situation was such a mess that they completely reworked their goaltending tandem at the NHL Trade Deadline.

The Devils will try to contend for the playoffs this upcoming season. As a result, a trade for Saros is certainly an option on the table. With this in mind, here is the perfect trade New Jersey can offer the Predators this summer.

Juuse Saros trade offer

In this scenario, the New Jersey Devils acquire goaltender Juuse Saros from the Nashville Predators. In exchange, the Predators acquire forward Alexander Holtz and a 2024 first-round pick from New Jersey. The 2024 first-round pick is 10th overall in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Devils trade for Juuse Saros

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a glove save against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The trade cost is certainly steep for New Jersey. However, it isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. General manager Tom Fitzgerald has signaled a willingness to trade the 10th overall pick this year. It just has to be a “significant” move for the Devils to make.

Acquiring Saros is certainly a significant move for New Jersey. He went on a tear during the second half of this past season. The Finnish goaltender helped the Predators make the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite a slow start. He was up and down in the playoffs, but kept Nashville in their first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Saros struggled a bit during the 2023-24 season at the start. However, he has an incredibly solid track record and has been one of the best goalies in the league. Prior to this season, his lowest career save percentage was a .914 mark he recorded during the 2019-20 season. He has three seasons with a save percentage north of .920 and two other campaigns where he knocked on that door.

Giving up a top-10 pick and a high-potential winger in Holtz is certainly a steep price to pay. But elite goaltenders do not grow on trees in the NHL. You have to give up value to get value, and that's what New Jersey does in this trade.

Predators trade Juuse Saros

The Predators could certainly try and get New Jersey's 2025 first-round pick in this trade. Furthermore, they could sneak another prospect in this deal. However, Nashville is getting a guaranteed top-10 pick with this offer. And they get an immediate contributor in Holtz who could be a gem for them.

Statistically, Holtz doesn't leap off the page. He played his first full NHL season in 2023-24. And he scored 16 goals and 28 points during the year. That said, he didn't get a ton of opportunities with the Devils. He averaged a little more than 11 and a half minutes a game this past season. It is a bump from the 10 minutes he averaged in a 19-game stint in 2022-23, but it's still not significant ice time.

New Jersey's coaching staff did not trust the former top-10 pick last season. As a result, they could trade him for a significant upgrade in an important position. This works out really well for the Predators. Holtz produced most of his points at even strength this past season. He has an expected offensive goals above replacement of 3.7 last year, and an expected goals for percentage of 47.32%.

These aren't eye-popping numbers, but they show promise. If the Swedish forward plays a larger role, he could have an impact. And down the line, Holtz could become one of the team's better goal scorers. He gives Nashville a potential long-term contributor on the wing as their best players are getting up there in age.

With the 10th overall pick, Nashville could add another high-potential young talent. They could swing for a defenseman such as London Knights star Sam Dickinson. There is a chance someone like Spokane Chiefs star Berkly Catton or Medicine Hat Tigers star Cayden Lindstrom falls that far, as well.

Overall, this trade gives Nashville an injection of youth. Top goalie prospect Yaroslav Askarov can play a more regular role at the NHL level. And they receive potential star contributors for years to come. It's tough moving on from one of your best players, but the return in this trade makes it worth it.