Goaltender Pekka Rinne announced his retirement from the NHL Tuesday after 15 seasons, all with the Nashville Predators.
Rinne, 38, leaves the Predators as the franchise’s all-time leader in goal in games (683), wins (369), goals-against average (2.43), total time on ice (39,413:29), shutouts (60) and saves (17,627).
With a record of 369-213-75, Rinne is tied for 19th in victories in NHL history and ranks 19th in shutouts.
He announced his retirement in an essay in The Players’ Tribune, saying it’s time to shift his attention to his family.
“This decision wasn’t easy,” he wrote. “I spent the summer in Nashville with my fiancee, Erika, and our six-month-old son, Paulus. My body still feels like it could compete at the highest level … but my decision was about a lot more than that. Every time I looked at my son, at Erika — I just felt like a different person, almost, if that makes sense. My priorities had changed, and my mind knew that, even if my body didn’t. And when I really thought about what it would mean to not come back to the rink at the end of the summer, it just felt like the right choice, and the right time.”
The Predators selected Rinne, from Finland, in the eighth round (258th overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft. By the 2008-09 season, he was the full time goaltender, and he had eight 30-win seasons.
In the 2018-19 season, when Nashville won its second straight Central Division title, he played in all six postseason games. That gave him 89 playoff appearances with one franchise — only one of four NHL goalies to start at least 89 Stanley Cup playoff games with the same franchise, joining Martin Brodeur (New Jersey), Patrick Roy (Colorado) and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers).
A three-time All-Star, Rinne won the Vezina Trophy, given to the best goalie in the league, in 2017-18 when he finished 42-13-4 with a 2.31 GAA, .927 save percentage and eight shutouts. This year, he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who displays the best leadership on and off the ice. He is known in the Nashville area for his numerous philanthropic efforts, which include raising money for cancer research.
“Nashville has become my home, and I have tried to make this community a better place than when I first arrived,” Rinne said, per NHL.com. “Over time, I’ve learned what this organization is all about, and that’s family. I’ll cherish the memories and friendships I’ve made for the rest of my life.”
The next order of business for the Predators will be to sign Juuse Saros, 26, to a long-term contract. The restricted free agent started 35 games in goal for the Predators last season, posting a 21-11-1 mark with a 2.28 GAA and .927 save percentage.
Rinne was 10-12-1 in 24 games in 2020-21 with a 2.84 GAA and .907 save percentage. His final appearance was a 30-save shutout in Nashville’s 5-0 win against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on May 10.
–Field Level Media