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Behind The Bench: Pekka Rinne

by on 07/22/2011

Born: November 3, 1982
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 205 lbs
Draft: 258th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2004
Plays for: Nashville Predators, Goaltender, Catches Left
Jersey No.: #35

NHL Stats

Regular Season: 177 GP – 95 W – 54 L – 18 OTL, 2.33 GAA, .920 Sv%
Playoffs: 18 GP – 8 W – 8 L – 2 OTL, 2.60 GAA, .908 Sv%

No NHL All-Star goaltender has been drafted later than Pekka Rinne in NHL History. Pekka Rinne was drafted 258th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2004, the only other NHL All-Star drafted later than him was defensemen Mark Streit.

Pekka Rinne spent the lockout playing for Karpat’s junior team and didn’t sign with the Predators until August of 2005. He began his North American career immediately with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Rinne started the season as a back-up to Brian Finley but eventually won the starting job from Finley. He finished his first North American season playing in 51 games, posting a 30-18-2 record with 2 shutouts, 2.82 GAA and .904 Sv%. Rinne appeared in two NHL games for the Predators during the 05/06 season and posted a 1-1-0 record, with a 3.80 GAA and a .900 Sv%.

Due to an offseason incident, Rinne suffered a dislocated shoulder and missed the first four months of the 06/07 season. Rinne played 29 games for the Admirals that season and posted a 15-7-6 record, 2.34 GAA and a .906 Sv%. In his third season with the Admirals, Rinne carried much of the work load and played in 65 games posting a 36-24-3 record with a 2.47 GAA and .908 Sv%.

Rinne started the 08/09 season as Dan Ellis’ back-up but due to Ellis’ poor play, Rinne was given the starter job and never looked back. He finished the season playing in 52 games and posted a 29-15-4 record with 7 shutouts (A Predators’ franchise record). Rinne carried his strong play into the 09/10 season posting career highs in games played (58), games won (32) and matched the Predators’ franchise record for most shutouts in a season (7). Rinne played in his first NHL playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks but the team would lose in 6 games.

Although he struggled early in the 10/11 season with an injury caused by a collision with Troy Bodie, Rinne would eventually bounce back. After he returned from injury on December 23, 2010, Rinne went on to win 25 of the 40 games he played in. During his phenominal run, Rinne posted a 4 game win streak and two 5 game win streaks. Rinne finished the season playing in 64 games, posting a 33-22-9 record with 6 shutouts. He posted a career low 2.12 GAA and posted a career high .930 Sv%. Rinne was named one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy along side Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo and was named a NHL Second Team All-Star. By season’s end, Rinne established himself as one of the elite goaltenders in the league.

Rinne finished 9th in games played, 3rd in GAA, 2nd in Sv%, 15th in wins and 9th in shoot out wins among all goalies.

Rinne capped off his fantasic season by helping the Predators win their first ever playoff series in franchise history by defeating the Anaheim Ducks in 6 games in the first round. The Predators were eliminated by Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Vancouver Canucks, in 6 games. Rinne finished the playoffs with a 2.57 GAA and a .907 Sv%

Rinne is a very intimidating goalie. He is very large and covers a lot of the net when he is standing in the crease. Couple his long legs with his butterfly style and it is almost impossible to get anything through the bottom half of the net. Rinne is also a very athletic goalie. He can move around the net efficiently and effectively and has great lateral movement. He is the type of goalie that is positionally sound and is rarely caught out of position on a goal. Rinne has a very quick glove hand and his large frame makes scoring up top just as difficult. Pucks will go to his glove and die there. Rinne’s black hole of a glove is his greatest asset but it’s also his great flaw. He likes to stop everything with his glove, at times he’ll scoop up the puck off the ice with his glove like a shortstop. That being said, Rinne does have trouble controlling rebounds off his pads but due to the collapsing style of defense the Predators play, he hasn’t been severely punished for his control. He also has a tendency to give up goals high blocker side.

Rinne is a fantastic goaltender and he is currently playing for a team that’s style is advantageous for him. His glove is arguably the best in the league and being only 28, he still has a year or two until he reaches his “goaltending prime.” For the Predators to go further in the playoffs, they’ll need to find Rinne some offensive support for the nights he is struggling.

Behind The Bench appears Monday to Friday only on puckpuckgoose.com.

Edited by: John Jasinski
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