Juuse Saros, Vezina Trophy candidiate? That would have been a silly prediction prior to the start of the season - heck, it would have been bonkers to suggest that heading into March.
Now? Not so crazy anymore.
If you haven't been paying attention, Saros picked up his fifth consecutive victory on Tuesday, giving him a 15-7-0 record in games on the season. For a goalie that started the season with a 3-4-0 record, a .880 save percentage and a 3.66 goals-against average in the first month of play, Saros - and the Predators, but extension - have had a complete turnaround.
The Predators currently sit four points ahead of Chicago for fourth in the Central Division, the final playoff spot if the season was to end now. Considering the Predators were 23rd in the league two months into the season, the Predators have Saros to thank for helping this group become a contender once more - and perhaps save John Hynes' job.
Over the entire season, Saros' .945 save percentage at 5-on-5 ties Andrei Vasilevskiy - the favorite for the Vezina - for the lead among starting goalies. Saros' 15.03 goals-saved-above-average is second behind Vasilevskiy and his high-danger save percentage of .863 is fourth among goalies with at least 20 starts, per Natural Stat Trick. In a nutshell, Saros' stats are among the best in all the major goaltending categories, making a Vezina Trophy argument a realistic scenario.