Nashville Predators Midseason Grades: Pekka Rinne

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 15: Goaltender Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 15: Goaltender Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

It’s midseason grade time, and I get the privilege of grading the Finnish Reindeer himself, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Since Rinne was picked in the 2004 NHL Draft, he has become a uniquely Nashville thing like hot chicken and the angel wings mural. He’s a fan favorite, and I will weep when he retires and be thrilled when they raise his number to the rafters and cement #35 into Predators’ history forever.

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. It’s near the halfway point in this shortened season, and Peks’ numbers aren’t great.

Rinne is currently sitting with a .899 SV% and a 3.09 GAA. He has given up some soft goals this year and has flat out just been beat.

I hate seeing when Rinne gets frustrated and, like in previous seasons, can be bad about letting early goals get into his head.

As he has gotten older, he has greatly benefitted from the rotating goalie play with Juuse Saros, keeping him fresh for big games. But with Saros being on IR, he has had to carry the full workload.

I think Rinne has settled in quite nicely in the last few games, and knowing he will be getting the start every night for the foreseeable future has to give him some confidence.

Another issue is that this team has not always given Rinne the best defense. Opposing teams are often allowed to skate freely through our defensive zone, cycling the puck with ease.

For many games this season, enemy players have been allowed to live rent-free in the slot, create screens, or take advantage of high danger chances. This puts a ton of pressure on Rinne to make unbelievable saves to make up for his defense’s mistakes, leading to bad goals.

But this brings me to my next point.

Unbelievable Saves, Classic Rinne

Rinne has made unbelievable saves this year! The stick save against Dallas absolutely blew my mind. Keep in mind that he is 38 going on 39 this year.

Rinne uses his massive 6’6″ frame incredibly well, taking up the majority of the net, allowing only small windows to score. For his age and size, he is still incredibly agile.

Rinne moves between the pipes smoothly and has a great glove hand. In the last few games, he has really been seeing the puck and making saves that he’s been making his whole career.

Overall for this season, I would give Rinne a B-. He’s definitely had some rocky games and has been smoked by teams with speed and skill.

B-. . Goaltender. Nashville Predators. PEKKA RINNE

That being said, Rinne is still aggressive and often meets attacking players at the top of the blue ice. He does not hesitate to play the puck, which can backfire on him, but often creates frustrations for teams attempting to dump the puck.

I love Rinne. I think he will complete the rest of the season with solid numbers, especially as the army of injured starters begin to make their returns. I really hope that Peks “Finnishes” his NHL career as a Nashville Predator (pun intended).

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