As the 2019-20 regular season is about to start, we take a look at what could possibly be the last year of the Pekka Rinne era for the Nashville Predators.
If Pekka Rinne at age 36 decides to retire after this upcoming season it would leave Jusse Saros to take over as the starter for the Nashville Predators. Rinne is coming off of another amazing season to add to his illustrious career. Last season he put up a record of 30-19-4. His 55 starts however was his lowest since 2013-14. Is age starting to become a factor for the storied goaltender?
Saros, on the other hand,is coming off of the 2018-19 season with a 17-10-2 record. It seems like he will start more games this year if Rinne’s age becomes more of a factor. If it does, it might take a big toll on the team in the long run.
Both goaltenders had solid years for the Predators last season. Rinne thrives in high-danger situations and on making the spectacular saves. He’s made a career out of it. He hasn’t shown much decline due to his age yet, but it happens to every professional athlete eventually. Is is Rinne’s time yet?
Pekka Rinne talks about his future
In this latest pre-camp interview with Jeremy Gover of the Predators Radio Network, Rinne explained how his offseason went away from hockey:
"“It takes a little bit of time. When the season doesn’t end the way you want it to, it takes a little bit just to feel back to yourself and feel motivated to start training, It’s funny how much you miss a lot of the guys and the whole team atmosphere throughout the summer.”"
Rinne also goes onto talking about age possibly being a factor in the future, but that he still trains the same way for the season. It’s a fascinating interview with Gover that you should check out in full on his Twitter page. We could see something different from the Predators goaltenders this year, and if we do then that could mean a “changing of the guard” of sorts in the near future. Saros is clearly waiting on standby to take over. We’ve known that for a while now.
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Most of us will predict a normal season from the Predators as a whole, but the real question is where will Saros and Rinne finish in their own respects. Will Rinne win another Vezina Trophy before he finally decides to retire? Or is Saros ready to take over and become a star in his own right? The Predators find themselves in a situation many franchises would love to find themselves in. To have two great goaltenders and having to balance out their starts.
As the 2019-20 regular season gets closer, will we see a career performance from the Finnish goaltender or will we see Saros start more games to keep Rinne healthy? It’s possible that we see Saros get more starts to preserve Rinne for the postseason to make one last run to win a Stanley Cup for the foundation of this franchise.
The season opener of the 2019-20 season is October 3rd against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena. Rinne will definitely start the season as the team’s primary goaltender. It’s still very much a question if Rinne’s starts will continue to decline in favor of Saros. It’s one of the top storylines to watch heading into the season.