A significant day in Nashville Predators history is coming in March as the team announced that March 25, 2023, is the unveiling of the Pekka Rinne statue.
Rinne played for the Nashville Predators for his entire NHL career and has brought so many hockey fans to Nashville. The statue will be just outside Bridgestone Arena in the plaza.
The statue is being sculpted by a Nashville Predators season ticket holder, Scott Wise. It will weigh nearly a 1,000 pounds and tower at around 11 feet tall. Wise says that Rinne was “evolutional in the development of hockey in Middle Tennessee”.
That is so true as many of the fans from the early days will remember that the franchise fell on hard times and was even in danger of being relocated.
Rinne played a major role in keeping the franchise afloat and winning games as the franchise would eventually add more talent and become a postseason contender again, leading up to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final run and a postseason streak that remain at eight seasons in a row.
Honoring the All-Time Great for the Nashville Predators Franchise
There will certainly be a party going on in the plaza for the game. The fans will be rowdy inside too as the Predators take on the Seattle Kraken. Rinne will be the story for the night, so let us look at what did in his decorated 15-year NHL career.
Drafted in the 8th round with pick No. 258 of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the young Nashville Predators took a chance on Rinne.
It was 2009 when Rinne showed what the rest of his career would look like when he came in fourth for the Calder Trophy. Goaltender Steve Mason for the Columbus Blue Jackets took home the NHL’s rookie of the year hardware, while Rinne finished ahead of such rookies as T.J. Oshie, Drew Doughty and Steven Stamkos.
“Pekka Rinne, who served as the face of the organization for more than 15 years, exemplifies what it truly means to be a Nashville Predator,” -Nashville Predators President & CEO Sean Henry
Rinne made the All-Star game twice in his career in the seasons of 2010-2011 and 2017-2018. In Rinne’s prime he was one the NHL’s most valuable players.
Rinne won the Vezina Trophy and was voted the best goaltender in the NHL for the 2017-2018 season. That was also the same season the Nashville Predators won the franchise’s first, and only, President’s Trophy by finishing with 117 points in the standings.
Over his career, Rinne was a cornerstone of the success the Predators enjoyed after going through the long years of being an expansion team and gradually building their roster up to playoff contention.
Rinne tied Andrei Vasilevskiy for the NHL lead in shutouts with eight during that Vezina Trophy season, and more importantly in goals saved above replacement. Rinne was a brick wall in front of net and saw a lot of shots. This season is the highlight of Pekka Rinne’s overall career.
Rinne would retire after the 2020-2021 season, being remembered as one of the best players in Predators history.
In fitting fashion, Rinne would receive the King Clancy Memorial Trophy as an honor to his remarkable career. An award given to the player who shows leadership and humanitarian contribution.
With two all-star appearances, Vezina Trophy winner, and a Clancy Memorial Trophy winner it is only right to call Rinne the G.O.A.T in Nashville Predators history.
I think with the addition of No. 35 memorialized in the Bridgestone Arena rafter already, this statue solidifies Pekka Rinne as Mr. Predator. It will be amazing for hockey fans from all over to see the Pekka Rinne statue when they attend a game at Bridgestone Arena.