The Maple Leafs need to stay far away from Juuse Saros for one specific reason

Dean Chaudhry
June 8, 2024  (8:09)

Juuse Saros stretching out to make a save against the Edmonton Oilers.
Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel - USA Today Sports

With rumours swirling about his potential availability, the Toronto Maple Leafs need to steer clear of Juuse Saros for one very important reason.

Igor Shesterkin is set to obliterate the goaltending market which is going to affect all the other marquee netminders who are also due for a new contract extension.
The New York Rangers' phenom has been one of the best goaltenders in all of hockey since he's stepped foot onto the ice. He went 10-2-0 with a .932 SV% and a 2.52 G.A.A. in 12 games before the NHL had to postpone their season due to COVID. Since then he's gone 125-57-17 with a 2.42 G.A.A. and a .920 SV% and won the Vezina Trophy in 2021-22 after posting a league best .935 SV% and 2.07 G.A.A to go along with his 36-13-4 record.
He has one year remaining on his current contract and is set to absolutely obliterate his current AAV as well as the goaltending market. The 28-year-old's value skyrocketed even more after his playoff performance where he propelled the Rangers to a Conference Final, essentially on his own, before bowing out to Florida in 6 games.
His new deal could easily exceed $11-12 million per season, which would blow out Carey Price's league-high $10.5 million AAV out of the water. Sergei Bobrovsky is next in line with a $10 million AAV, followed by Andrei Vasilevskiy's $9.5 million AAV, Connor Hellebuyck's $8.5 million AAV, and Ilya Sorokin's $8.25 million AAV to round out the top-5.
Saros has been a Toronto Maple Leafs target since last year's trade deadline and while it's tantalizing to imagine him patrolling the blue paint at Scotiabank Arena, there's a good chance that he is going to wait out Shesterkin's negotiations to better position himself for a mega contract.
Jeff Marek said exactly that on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast with Elliotte Friedman on Friday:
"Whatever ends up happening here with Igor Shesterkin is going to absolutely impact Juuse Saros if he allows it to and doesn't just rush to do a deal before Shesterkin sets a new bar."

Shesterkin and Saros are both born in 1995 but the latter has 4 more years of experience in the NHL due to the fact that the former had to run out his contract in the KHL before making his NHL debut. Saros carries a career .917 SV% and 2.63 G.A.A. and has seen the most rubber over the last 3 seasons. He is an absolute led the league in games played in that stretch with 195 under his belt, 11,367 minutes played, and having faced 6,051 shots while stopping 91.5% of them.
While he won't command the same salary and AAV as Shesterkin, it seems like the Maple Leafs would be better off not pursuing him this year after all. The cost of acquisition to acquire him from Nashville is going to be high to begin with and then having to extend him to potentially 9+ million dollars per season for 5-6 years just seems like the wrong play at this moment in time.
Saros is a world class goaltender, one of the best in the NHL today, but it seems like he's going to command a salary that is well beyond Toronto's preferred range. For that reason, it makes more sense for the Leafs to look elsewhere.
JUNE 8   |   367 ANSWERS
The Maple Leafs need to stay far away from Juuse Saros for one specific reason

Would you still want Juuse Saros on the Maple Leafs if he commands a salary of 9+ million?

Yes, he's one of the best goalies in the league6818.5 %
No, that's too much money for a volatile position29981.5 %
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