After 683 games played over the span of 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators, franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne has officially retired from the NHL.
In a statement posted on The Players’ Tribune, Rinne reminisced on his correspondences as a teenager in Finland with then Florida Panthers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, to his career and finally to the end with his retirement. The road to the NHL for Rinne began in Kempele, Finland then on to Oulu before crossing the Atlantic to Milwaukee to join the Predators minor league club before becoming the franchise goaltender for the Predators the past 15 seasons.
Pekka Rinne retires from the game holding the franchise records in nearly every category but most notably wins and shutouts. The 4 time NHL All-Star also stands 19th all-time in wins and shutouts with 369 and 60 respectively. The 2018 Vezina Winner was practically an annual contender for the award as best goaltender in the league. A King Clancy winner in 2021 for his dedication to Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities. He sports the most wins and shutouts by a Finnish-born goaltender in NHL history.
Originally drafted in the eighth round (258th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Rinne took over as the franchise goaltender in the 2008-09 season. Since taking over the net, Rinne was an instrumental piece in the take-off of the hockey hotbed down South known as Smashville. With Rinne between the pipes, Nashville would become a perennial playoff competitor and eventual Stanley Cup contender reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. During his tenure, Nashville missed the playoffs only 3 times. Prior to his tenure, Nashville had not won a playoff series in their 9 seasons since inception and did not qualify for the first 5 seasons. Making the playoffs the previous 4 seasons saw first round exits each time until they finally broke through in Rinne’s third season. After a short playoff drought, Nashville would find itself contending for the Stanley Cup within the next 3 seasons while Rinne dominated the crease.
15 seasons and 683 games later, Pekka Rinne is the face of goaltending for the Nashville Predators.
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