Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne Extends His Stay in Nashville

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators & Pekka Rinne will be together until the end of the 2020-21 season. A nice birthday present for the Predators’ GOAT.

Months of speculation over whether or not the Nashville Predators would re-sign the greatest goalie in their franchise’s history came to an end on Saturday. Incidentally, Saturday happened to be Pekka Rinne‘s birthday. Predators management made his thirty-sixth birthday a happy one by showing him the money.

Rinne’s contract extension lasts for two years & will set the Predators back ten million dollars. Six million will come Rinne’s way in 2019-2020 while four million will arrive in 2020-2021. This ensures that both Rinne & Juuse Saros will remain in Nashville’s goal for two seasons after this one.

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A longer wait for the future?

Some will say this creates a bit of a logjam at the position. Saros broke out in 2017-18 with an impressive campaign that wasn’t too far off from Rinne’s Vezina Trophy-winning season. When Rinne went out with an upper body injury in the middle of October, Saros helped ensure that the Nashville Predators didn’t miss a beat. There were already Predators fans (and writers) wondering if it was a sign that the Predators could afford to move on from Rinne.

If you asked Juuse Saros, the answer would be no. Rinne has been tremendously important as a mentor to his backup. Some relationships between starters & backups aren’t great, but from all accounts, Rinne & Saros are thick as thieves. Rinne has almost been a father figure to Saros, showing him the way on & off the ice in America. They’ll be together until at least 2021, when we’ll know whether or not a 39-year old Pekka Rinne is still viable, and just how a 26-year old Juuse Saros rates among the best of the NHL.

Pekka wants Nashville, Nashville wants Pekka

Rinne’s list of accomplishments in Nashville is endless. He leads the franchise in goalie wins, save percentage, goals-against average & shutouts. These aren’t particularly close, either. He was the 258th overall pick in the eighth round of the 2004 Entry Draft. The Entry Draft now goes seven rounds. He’s part of the 300-win club and will soon pass Miikka Kiprusoff to become the winningest Finnish goalie in NHL history.

If you look at all of Nashville’s greatest NHL moments, Rinne is in the middle of them.

Whether the Nashville Predators could afford to move on from Pekka Rinne or not was largely irrelevant. It was all about whether Pekka Rinne & the Nashville Predators wanted to stay together. There was no doubt that they did. Predators management has never had anything but positive things to say about the greatest player in Nashville hockey history. As for Rinne, he’s been outspoken about his desire to spend his whole career as a Predator. I think back to the article he penned for The Players’ Tribune after the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

"…the first thing that came to mind was that I wanted to write this letter to our fans. Because I wanted to let them know that the amazing journey we’ve been on during these playoffs, and this season, and these last few years, and even this last decade — it’s cut both ways. It’s been our journey, but it’s been everyone’s journey. It’s been about our growth as a hockey team, but it’s been about our growth as a hockey city, just as much.It’s been a Predators thing. But it’s been a Nashville thing.And for as much as I’ll never forget that empty-netter … I’ll also never forget my entire street of neighbors putting up Preds signs in their front yards. I’ll never forget the sound of that arena, in those last two minutes of Game 6 against Anaheim — unlike anything I’d ever heard in my life. And I’ll never forget 100,000 people, flooding the streets of downtown before Game 6 against Pittsburgh, cheering for us, and representing us, and letting us know that, win or lose, we were all in this together.And yeah … we lost. But we’re in this together, still, all the same."

Next. Preds October Awards. dark

At the end of the article, Rinne guaranteed that Nashville will win a cup. It’s the one accomplishment missing from his time with the Predators. He didn’t specify when it would happen, but he’s got at least three more seasons to be a part of it.