Pekka Rinne was coming off surgery this summer to repair his hip. He was able to push through rehab and make the roster in time for opening night, but now the problems are coming back out of the woodwork.
Rinne hasn’t been completely 100% that’s been pretty evident, but now we know for sure that Rinne is not 100% at all. The Nashville Predators announced today that Rinne’s hip has an infection in it, and he will be missing up to 4 weeks. Rinne’s hip requires arthroscopic surgery to remove the infection.
Rinne is crucial to the Nashville Predators game. Everything revolves around Rinne in Nashville, a defensive team, without much offensive weaponry, they have to have a lock down goaltender that can refuses to let in any easy goals.
The Predators are in a bind here, behind Rinne on the depth chart is Carter Hutton who has played in three NHL games to date. Backing him up on Thursday night when Winnipeg comes to town will be Magnus Hellberg. Hellberg has no NHL experience, and has only played in 42 games at the AHL level.
Head coach Barry Trotz has said that before any drastic moves are made for the team, the two goaltenders will have the opportunity to battle for the starting position while Rinne is out. But with so much inexperience, it’s hard to see either goalie being up to the task as a night in and night out starting NHL goalie.
The Predators could look into making a move for a solid back up goalie who can carry the load for the next few weeks while getting Hellberg or Hutton both a little NHL experience throughout. That would be the more ideal move, but Trotz has said they won’t be hitting the panic button just yet, but how long can they hold off if their goalie situation doesn’t work? Do they really expect their situation to work?
Unless one of these goalies blows us all away, the Predators might be in some trouble already this season. They started off a bit slow, but the team came back to life and they’ve lifted their record to 5-4-1. They’re in fourth place in the Central Division at the moment, right in the middle of the fast paced, well-skilled Western Conference. The Predators need Rinne, or some sort of solid goaltending for the next month, or they’re going to landslide to the bottom of an extremely tough Western Conference.