Suter is gone. Tootoo has joined the Dark Side. Weber has signed an offer sheet that the Predators may or may not match. With the tumultuous off-season Poile and Co. have faced, it is nice to know that all goaltending concerns have been addressed.
Bringing Chris Mason back into the fold to back-up Pekka Rinne reunites Mason with long-time goaltending mentor Mitch Korn. But the biggest plus for the Nashville Predators is the contract that Rinne signed in the 2011-2012 season. A move that solidified what many would argue was the most important piece of “the Big 3.”
Pekka Rinne has been one of the most consistent goaltenders in the last 3 seasons and his accolades are starting to pile up. He has been nominated for the Vezina trophy twice and in the 2010-2011 season was almost a finalist for the Hart trophy for almost single-handedly getting the Predators into the playoffs.
In 2011-2012, Rinne was first in wins (43), shots against (2,153), saves (1,987) and 2nd in minutes (4,169) while playing in 73 games. He was also 4th in goals against, 7th in SV% and 14th in GAA. It was a remarkable season that was capped off by putting pen to paper on November 5th of 2011.
The 7 year, $49M contract made Rinne one of the highest paid goalies in the league and with his stats, it was a no-brainer deal for the Nashville Predators. Rinne was quoted as saying:
“I want to keep elite players and I know we are doing our best to get them signed here. But this is my decision. I was the first one out of us three that signed, and hopefully those two guys [Weber and Suter] are next.”
Meanwhile the Predators are without Ryan Suter and the puck is on Poile’s stick in matching the Flyers offer sheet for Weber.
It took guts for Pekka Rinne to go ahead and sign and many thought by him signing that Weber and Suter would soon follow. Rinne leads by example and thankfully he had the faith in the Predators, even before the trade deadline acquisitions, that Nashville is poised to go further and further each year with him as a main component. And for that, Pekka Rinne deserves recognition and gratitude from the Nashville Predators and their fans.