Leading up to the lockout-shortened season, we will be providing 2012-13 previews for each player. In no specific order, we continue with Pekka Rinne today…
Pekka Rinne had another sensational season for the Predators in 2011-12, leading the NHL with 43 wins on the season. Rinne was nominated for the Vezina Trophy for the second consecutive season, and posted a .923 save percentage on the season. He kicked his game up a notch in the first round against Detroit, recording a 1.81 GAA and .944 save percentage in five games. He also made many big saves in the series, like this one.
Perhaps Rinne’s greatest achievement during the 2011-12 season was his durability. Rinne appeared in 73 of the 82 games Nashville played and started 72 of them. That’s a whole lot of games to play for a goaltender, and Rinne seemed to get better as the season moved along. Rinne had five shutouts on the season and also tallied five assists.
Rinne was signed to a seven-year, $49 million contract on Nov. 3, 2011, which also happened to be his 29th birthday.
Rinne left for Europe in September and played for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. He played 22 games with them and posted an underwhelming 3.08 goals-against average and .897 save percentage.
With a shortened season that will have a compact schedule, the Predators will have to be wary of how they use Rinne this upcoming season. Playing 40 or more games of a 48 game season may not seem like a lot, but it can take a serious toll when those games are so close to each other. Rinne should have another stellar season for the Predators if he stays healthy, but Nashville will have to utilize backup goaltender Chris Mason as well.