The Nashville Predators 2013-14 season is a little over a month old. In Part III of the Month in Review, we take a look at how the goaltenders have fared. You can go back and check out Part I of the series on the forwards here and Part II on defensemen here.
Biggest Surprise — Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne has been the cornerstone of the Predators for the last couple of years and the plan is to continue that trend far into the future. Rinne underwent hip surgery over the summer and looked normal during the pre-season. After being pulled on opening night, Rinne looked as though he had returned to form as an all-star goaltender and was ready to lead the Preds back to the play-offs. Through 9 games, Rinne posted a 2.31 gaa and a 9.17 save percentage. These numbers are both close to Rinne’s career averages and a step up from where he finished last year. It looked as though Rinne had made a full recovery until the news three weeks ago that his hip was infected. The original timeline has fluctuated and it looks like Rinne will be out until around Christmas. Predators fans need to make sure they include his healthy return on their Christmas lists this year.
Biggest Disappointment — Carter Hutton
Carter Hutton was brought in to backup Rinne and play around 15 games. The injury to Rinne has thrust Hutton into the starting role and he has not been able to withstand the pressure. Hutton is currently sporting a 3.53 gaa and .887 save percentage. Among the forty qualifying goaltenders in the NHL, these rate 39th and 35th respectively. There is an expectation of some drop-off from starter to backup but it cannot be this severe if the Preds are going to be succesful. Hutton is still an NHL-caliber goaltender, but the Preds need to do something to help him get comfortable in that role and whether that is better team defense or a platoon remains to be seen.
- Magnus Hellberg has appeared in one game and stopped 3 of the 4 shots he faced in 12:12 of action.
- Marek Mazanec has appeared in two games, stopping 22 of 24 shots faced in relief and stopping 30 of 33 shots faced in a 3-1 loss in his first NHL start.
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