The Nashville Predators will be without Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne for an indeterminate amount of time. It will be a tough test.
It was bound to happen. The Nashville Predators were the only team in the NHL to not face injury issues this early in the season according to Man-Games Lost. That all changes tonight. The Predators have moved star goalie Pekka Rinne to the Injured Reserve List, and called up Miroslav Svoboda and Troy Grosenick to fill on the whole.
During the victory over the Calgary Flames last night, Rinne took friendly fire by Kevin Fiala. As Sam Bennett from the Flames attacked the net, he maneuvered from left to right, juking Rinne and scoring a goal. Fiala was chasing Bennett and was unable to stop in time. Fiala and Rinne collided.
It appears Rinne took the hit to the head and neck area. Fiala motioned to the bench immediately, but Rinne would stay in the game. After seeing one more shot, Rinne spoke with Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi. He was then lifted from the game for Juuse Saros.
Today, it was announced the Rinne was placed on the injured reserve list.
Once the Predators return home, Troy Grosenick will be called up for Milwaukee.
By being placed in the IR, Rinne will miss at least 7 days, meaning the next three games. What is unknown is the injury itself, and its severity. What we do know is Juuse Saros is one of the most capable backup goalies in the NHL.
This offseason, the Nashville Predators made a commitment to Saros as the “goalie in waiting” for their team. With a 3 year/$4.5 million deal, Saros was rewarded for his performance last season. He appears to be continuing that play now.
In three games played this season, Saros boasts a .917 save percentage, allowing only 5 goals thus far. His 2.23 GAA is 18th in the NHL. Last season, he finished 23rd in the league in the same stat, with 2.45. There is no doubting his ability, but can he carry this team for an extended amount of time?
The Predators certainly believe Saros can fill the role and do it at a high level. His first test will come tonight against the Edmonton Oilers, though he was slated to start tonight anyway. The team will return home to face the San Jose Sharks, followed by a trip to New Jersey this
It will be a difficult stretch for the Predators. The offensive and defense will need to step up their play. Even so, Saros showed last season he can handle the goal well.