The Nashville Predators were hoping to make a playoff run this season, but the injury bug took a bite out of their star goaltender Pekka Rinne. Currently Rinne is trying to recover from a bacterial infection in his hip. He will undergo a MRI to reevaluate his condition.
LeBrun: Pekka Rinne will have an MRI on his hip next week. If it’s not good news, trade talk may heat up. .mynhltraderumors.com
It’s unclear by that quote if the possible trade talks will include Rinne, or will be about bringing in a true starting goaltender for the remainder of this season. I asked Scott Gardner Editor of our partner site Predlines what he thought about a possible Rinne trade.
Q: If his MRI is not good news; do you think the Predators will look into moving him?
A: No. They have him signed to a long-term deal that is affordable and he is still an elite goaltender. Losing him for a season may be bad for the coaching staff, but it is not terrible for the franchise.
My thoughts: I do not think that moving Rinne is the answer, and let’s not forget that moving an injured player doesn’t work. If Rinne is healthy he could have big returns for Nashville. As the season moves along teams may find out they need a top-tier goaltender.
Q: If a trade does happen; what is the biggest need for the team?
A: The only thing you could consider trading Rinne for would be an elite forward, like top-3 and consistent goal scoring threat. A problem with even doing that would be roster space because the Preds have too many forwards on one-ways, so a deal would have to move a number of players around.
My thoughts: Like Scott said Nashville has a log jam at forward, but if Nashville has the will they could find a way of making this work. However, just a top forward may not be enough of a return for Rinne. I would look for a high draft pick along with the top forward.
Q: Would it be better to put Rinne on IR, and make a run at the playoffs next season?
A: I think they will do what is in Rinne’s best interest. While an 80% Rinne is still pretty awesome, if he is going to do damage to his body, he will not play. Mazanec has provided a bright spot too. He is playing like Rinne can take his time and be eased back in to the lineup. I doubt Rinne would come back too early anyways because he is going to want to be able to play every single game he can (and play up to his standards).
My thoughts: I am all in favor of placing Rinne on IR. The Predators are along shot at making the Playoffs, and giving Rinne an extended recovery period may be the best thing for the Predators and Pekka. Most top players have a drive to come back and play; I would take this option away. Rinne is locked up long-term; there is no reason to risk further injury this season.
Q: How are the fans handling this season struggles?
A: Fine, I guess. Losing Rinne almost gave an easy excuse for the team that will be battling for the playoffs if he is healthy either way. I think the fan base is still positive, especially this past week, and sees a light at the end of the tunnel with Rinne returning. They just need to keep up the goal scoring. Also, the Titans struggling only helps the Preds.
My thoughts: The Nashville Predators have a great fan base. They were hoping for a turnaround season, but they are not getting it this year. If Rinne returns at 100% there will be a foundation to build on for years to come. Sometime fans have to suffer for a few years, but Predators fans shouldn’t have to suffer for too long. One way or another help will be on the way.
Q: Nashville is sitting 8 points out of the wildcard spot; where do you think they would be if Rinne was healthy?
A: The Preds are more than half a goal against a game better with Rinne in the lineup, plus Hutton would not have played as much. They would probably have 6-7 more points, just on the cusp.
My thoughts: Rinne would make the Predators a wildcard contender. But, is being on the cusp what fans and the Predators front office was hoping for? I don’t think so, but being on the cusp does make for a much more enjoyable season.
Nashville is currently in 6th place in the Central Division, and sits in 11th place in the Western Conference.
What do you think the Predators should do, and why?