On October 24, news broke that all-star goaltender Pekka Rinne would be out for at least four weeks. This was especially bad timing as the Predators were about to start a seventeen-day road trip. The most recent news is that Rinne will now be out for between six and eight weeks.
The added recovery time is based on the nature of the infection. When the initial injury was disclosed, there was no specific information about what type of infection Rinne suffered. Now, it appears as though Rinne is suffering from an E-Coli infection in his surgically repaired right hip. The team has not formally confirmed the diagnosis, but multiple news outlets are reporting it.
Trotz and company initially said they were confident moving forward with Carter Hutton in net while Rinne was out, but the change in recovery time for Rinne and Hutton’s play could force a change in plans. Hutton hasn’t been bad without Rinne around, but he has not exactly been great either. Hutton has posted two wins and two losses, one in a shootout, since Rinne went down. Hutton has stopped 111 of the 125 shots he faced in those four games. However, he was pulled in the third against the St. Louis Blues and gave up a soft goal that helped start the Phoenix Coyotes comeback in his other loss.
Magnus Hellberg was called up when Rinne was hurt to serve as Hutton’s backup. Hellberg only got about twelve minutes of action during the Blues’ game after Hutton was pulled. It seemed like we might get more of a chance to see him play, but the coaching staff seems confident with Hutton at this point. Yesterday, the Preds sent Hellberg back down to their AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals to allow him to see some game action. The Preds called up Marek Mazanec who has been stellar so far in Milwaukee, posting a 5-0 record with a sub-2.00 goals against average. If the Preds are still confident in Hutton it may be a couple more games before Mazanec makes his NHL debut. He will probably get a shot on this road trip, but when will depend on how well Hutton keeps playing. In any event, it looks like the Preds will continue to ride Hutton and probably give one of the two other guys a look as well before considering a replacement outside the organization.