Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne Retires, Goes Out as a Legend

Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

After 15 seasons and 683 career NHL games, Pekka Rinne has announced his retirement from the NHL and will go out as a member of the Nashville Predators.

Rinne’s 683 career games is 31st all-time in the NHL, and he’s all over the all-time records list in many different statistical categories. Most importantly, he’s just genuinely one of the nicest people you will meet by all accounts of people who have been lucky enough to interact with him.

The Nashville Predators announced a “major press conference” for Tuesday morning, which caught many of us off guard. This sort of announcement doesn’t happen often, so immediately everyone started speculating what it could be. It didn’t take long to realize it was likely regarding Rinne’s choice of retirement.

A legend rises for the Nashville Predators

As a former 8th-round draft pick in 2004, Rinne shows that you can find a franchise-changing and all-time great player anywhere in the draft. Just keep that in mind as we get closer to the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

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Rinne played his first NHL game on December 15, 2005 by giving us a small sample of what was to come in his legendary NHL career. He posted 35 saves on 38 shots faced to get the win over the Chicago Blackhawks. He wouldn’t start getting regular playing time until the 2008-2009 season.

It’s awesome to see that Rinne went out on top by posting a shutout in his last game, while also winning the NHL’s King Clancy Award, which awards the player who shows the most leadership qualities on and off the ice.

Rinne also won the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and was runner-up in the Vezina Trophy race in 2011 and 2015.

This quote from Rinne regarding his future relationship with the Predators organization should make you feel a little bit better, per Brooks Bratten:

"“I’ll always be a Nashville Predator… I’ll always be following this team and staying in touch and coming to games.”"

The relationship of Rinne and Juuse Saros was always well-documented, and I’m sure it really impacted his decision on retirement. It’s Saros’ time to shine, much like Rinne got his chance eventually after Tomas Vokoun left the Predators.

You have to ultimately respect Rinne’s decision and when he’s making it. He’s giving Predators General Manager David Poile plenty of time to figure out who will be the backup next season, whether that will be within the organization or will be found on the free agent market which opens up on July 28.

Rinne will forever be not only a Nashville Predators legend, but a Nashville sports legend. His impact on the city can’t really be measured, and his impact will live on in his retirement.

It would’ve been extremely difficult to see him suit up for another team, but we also would’ve respected his decision to pursue a Stanley Cup if he went that route.

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However, Rinne has shown that he’s a lifelong Nashville Predator and was fully committed to this team if he was going to keep playing into 2021-22.

Congratulations on your retirement, Pekka. You have impacted a countless number of fans, coaches and teammates. Nashville is forever grateful and we can’t wait to see you in Bridgestone Arena and coming out of that tunnel waving the rally towel.