The Nashville Predators drafted goaltender Pekka Rinne out of Finland with the 258th pick in the 2004 draft. Rinne played junior hockey in Finland for the Karpat Oulu. Rinne played his first season under contract in 2005 with the Milwaukee Admirals. Rinne spent three seasons in the minors before he was made back up to Dan Ellis after the Predators traded away Chris Mason to the St. Louis Blues after the 2007-2008 season.
Rinne ended up playing 52 games his rookie season putting up an impressive record of 29-15-4 with a goals against average of 2.38 and a save percentage of .917%. Rinne has been Nashville’s go to guy ever since. He followed up his rookie season with another good year, but his numbers dropped.
Rinne came back swinging in the 2010-2011 season posting a goals against average of 2.12 and a save percentage of .930%. He helped push the Predators into the second round of the playoffs, and was nominated for the Vezina Trophy.
In November of 2011, Rinne was rewarded with a seven year deal worth $49 million. Rinne played in 74 games in the 2011-2012 season putting up a record of 43-18-8. His first and to this date, only 40 win season. His goals against average came to 2.39, while his save percentage was still very shiny at .923%. He was nominated for the Vezina trophy for the second straight season, but once again came up short.
The Predators were less than stellar this season, but Rinne put up a goals against average of 2.43 and a save percentage of .910%. The Predators are a defensive team, and they need Rinne to be good. He’s a very large goalie at 6-5, and 209 pounds. Rinne was selected with the final pick in the eighth round. He’s been outstanding for the Predators, and I don’t expect anything to change. Rinne was a diamond in the rough, and the Predators are reaping the benefits 9 years after the draft.