Veteran goaltender and former Vezina Trophy winner, Pekka Rinne, has announced his retirement after 15 seasons in the NHL. Rinne has spent his entire North American career as a member of the Nashville Predators.
Nashville Predators goaltender and franchise icon Pekka Rinne announced his retirement from the NHL today following a decorated 15-year career.https://t.co/Gtit6GmweO
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 13, 2021
Pekka Rinne Announces Retirement
Drafted 258th overall, in a round that no longer exists, Rinne has exceeded every expectation imaginable. He finishes his career tied-19th overall in wins (369), 19th in shutouts (60) and also ranks 14th all-time in save percentage, currently tied with the likes of Tomas Vokoun, Connor Hellebuyck and Carey Price.*
An excellent puck mover with incredible athleticism, Rinne ends his career with plenty of personal accolades. He finished as a Vezina finalist on four separate occasions and won two Finnish league championships early in his career. This season he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his charity work.
But no accomplishment is more memorable than his Vezina win in 2017-18. The Finnish native rebounded from a serious and potentially career-ending, hip infection that derailed his 2013-14 campaign to return and win the best goaltender award just four years later. He did so with a .927 save percentage while ranking fifth in goals saved above expected according to Money Puck.
In the postseason, Rinne held a 45-44-5 record with a .914 save percentage. His best run was leading Nashville to the Stanley Cup final in 2017 on the back of a Conn Smythe-esque .930 save percentage and 1.96 GAA in 22 games. He finishes in the top 50 goaltenders for all-time playoff save percentage.^
Furthermore, Rinne became only the twelfth goalie in NHL history to score a goal, launching a shot 200-feet into an empty net to put the finishing touches on a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in 2020; he is only the seventh goaltender to score with a shot on goal.
What This Means Going Forward
With Rinne retiring, the Predators now must focus on securing a backup goaltender for the 2021-22 season. Given their modest amount of cap space, it is likely general manager David Poile will search for a thrifty addition. Players such as David Rittich, James Reimer or Jaroslav Halak come to mind.
For Pekka Rinne himself, his retirement should lead to his number being retired by the Preds’ organization. A universally beloved person, not just for his ability on the ice, but for his genuine nature and humanitarian work within the community, his legacy will be forever immortalized among the Smashville faithful. Number 35 will likely become the first number to be raised to the rafters at Bridgestone Arena.
*Goalies with at least 200 career games.
^Goalies with at least 20 postseason games.
** Stats sourced via Quant Hockey unless otherwise stated.