Kevin Fiala, Juuse Saros avoid arbitration, sign extensions
Kevin Fiala of the Wild and Juuse Saros and the Predators have avoided arbitration and worked out new contracts with their respective teams, according to Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
For Fiala, it’s a one-year, $5.1 million deal, while Saros will get $20 million over the next four seasons.
Both players had arbitration hearings scheduled for this week.
After leading the Wild in scoring last season, the 25-year-old Fiala followed it up with another strong year. He was second on the team in both goals (20) and points (47) behind Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov.
Fiala did not file for arbitration this summer, it was the Wild who did so in a rare care. After a contract dispute two years ago ended just before training camp, there will be no prolonged back-and-forth this summer. A resolution now also allows general manager Bill Guerin to know the salary cap space available ($13 million, per Cap Friendly) so he can focus on re-signing Kaprizov.
The one-year deal means Fiala will be a restricted free agent again next summer with arbitration rights.
Saros, meanwhile, will get $4 million in 2021-22; $5 million in 2022-23; $6 million in 2023-24; and $5 million in 2024-25. A no-trade or no-move clause is not featured during the length of the contract.
Saros had usurped the now-retired Pekka Rinne over the last two seasons as the team’s No. 1 netminder. In 2020-21, he had his best year with a .945 5-on-5 save percentage, 8.44 goals saved above average (per Natural Stat Trick), and helped Nashville’s last-season surge to a playoff berth. The career season earned the Finn votes for both the Hart and Vezina Trophies.
Since the 2018-19 NHL season, Saros is third in 5-on-5 save percentage (.930) and GSAA (27.37) among goaltenders with at least 3,000 minutes played.
The four-year term is a nice bridge to allow 2020 first-round pick Yaroslav Askarov more time to develop for a potential shot at the No. 1 job down the line.