Cleat Geeks

NHL’s Best: Pekka Rinne

 

Pekka Rinne, the Finnish born goalie of the Nashville Predators is currently out for the next 3-5 weeks. Rinne sustained a knee injury on January 13, 2015 in a 5-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks that have left many wondering whether the Predators can continue their current pace among the top in the league. They are currently battling with the Anaheim Ducks for 1st place and are just 2 points behind them with 66. The Ducks rallied from behind to gain a 3-2 victory last night against the Kings in the shootout. The Predators would still be tied with the Ducks in points were it not for the 5-2 dismantling by the Detroit Red Wings, which is further proof of just how instrumental Rinne’s play in net really is.

The Vezina trophy, given every year to the goalie who is  "adjudged to be the best at this position"

The Vezina trophy, given every year to the goalie who is “adjudged to be the best at this position.”

Many teams throughout the NHL have a backup that is routinely relied upon to pick up some of the games

throughout the season, but Nashville’s Rinne has been, for the better part, the sole man in net and work horse for the club. He ranks 3rd in games played among NHL goalies with 37; just behind New Jersey Devil’s Cory Schneider (40) and Washington Capital’s Braden Holtby (39). He may be out of play for now, but according to many experts just past the midway point of the season, he is the easy front runner for the Vezina Trophy. Further talks within the NHL also have him as one of the current front runners for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s overall MVP, and for good reason.

Rinne currently ranks first in wins at 29 with a solid .931 save percentage (3rd) and 1.96 goals against average (2nd). Though his stats are impressive, anyone that knows hockey can appreciate what a player does on the ice that’s not reflected within the stats columns. He has been the one player for the Predators that has continued to help control the pace of the game in the defensive zone and push the guys in transition while they move on the rush. Rinnes’ play allows the Predators the opportunity to play their game instead of getting sucked into the play of the opponent. The Predators are also able to take more chances with him guarding the net, while not being as concerned about their defensive play when the puck transitions or players passes don’t go to their intended targets.

Rinne’s injury is unfortunate, especially since he was out last year for most of the season due to an infection after he had arthroscopic surgery to clean up a nagging injury on his hip. Many believe that if he had been in net last season the Predators wouldn’t have missed the playoffs by only three points. He’s a player that is beloved by fans throughout the NHL, but few know the importance of Rinne between the pipes than his teammates, who will just have to weather the storm in his absence.

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