#1: Pekka Rinne
Josi’s enourmous season actually made me think twice about who to put at No.1, but in the end it had to be Pekka Rinne. He changed the franchise in so many ways, and an elusive Stanley Cup was all that was missing.
Rinne played for the Nashville Predators for almost the entire past decade, with last season being his first in retirement. It was definitely strange not having Rinne between the pipes, and it becoming Saros’ full-time show.
Simply speaking, the Predators don’t go to the playoffs for all of those years and Nashville turn into a hockey town without Rinne. His impact far expands past what he did on the ice, which is Hall of Fame type numbers, minus the Stanley Cup.
There was a slim chance before Rinne announced his retirement that he would go to another team to chase a Stanley Cup. I certainly wouldn’t have blamed him for that, but instead he decided that he was satisfied with what he accomplished, and the Predators gave him a really cool number retiement ceremony.
There’s also a Pekka Rinne statue in the works for right outside Bridgestone Arena in the plaza. No one knows exactly what it will look like, but it will be unveiled sometime in 2023.
Rinne had 369 career wins and 60 career shutouts, both good for 19th all time in NHL history. His Predators records might stand forever. Unless Josi claims a Stanley Cup and MVP, then Rinne is here to stay at the top of franchise players for a long time.