It's a new era in Smashville.
After Pekka Rinne's 15-year run in the starter's crease ended with his retirement this offseason, the Nashville Predators have officially anointed his successor in Juuse Saros, agreeing to terms with the goaltender on Monday morning on a four-year extension worth an average annual value of $5 million.
The deal, which keeps Saros in Nashville through the 2024-25 season, was agreed upon just two days before the two sides were scheduled to face off against each other in arbitration on August 18th. Safe to say, that's a bullet dodged.
When it comes to successors, Saros is about as worthy as it gets.
The 26-year-old has benefited from sharing a locker room with Rinne for the entirety of his young career thus far, learning daily from his Finnish netminding counterpart while stringing together an exceedingly solid track record for himself in the process.
Saros, frankly, has largely flown under the radar since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2016. So much so, in fact, that putting him in the conversation as one of the league's best young goaltenders wouldn't be unreasonable.
In each of his five big-league seasons, save for a one-game cameo in 2015-16, Saros has never finished with a save percentage below .914, posting a positive goals-saved-above-average mark in each year during that stretch while also earning All-Rookie First Team honors in 2017-18 and placing sixth in Vezina voting this past season.
Speaking of this past season, the 2021 campaign was undoubtedly Saros' best, as the youngster started more than 50% of the Predators' games for the first time ever and rewarded this newfound trust with a dazzling .927 save percentage and 20.9 goals-saved-above-average in 36 games of work.
With today's deal, the Predators now have one of the NHL's best young netminders under contract until his age-30 season at what currently stands as the 17th-highest cap hit among goaltenders.
It's hard to find some business any tidier than that.