Nashville Predators

Pekka Rinne Will Win the Vezina Trophy in 2011-2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 28: Goalie Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators makes a save during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Vancouver Canucks during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 28, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images
Evan LeBlancCorrespondent IIJuly 21, 2011

Pekka Rinne is an amazing goalie who has posted GAAs of 2.38, 2.53 and 2.12 in the last three seasons. Although most of the East Coast media has failed to notice, Rinne really has joined a very short list of the best goaltenders in the NHL.

Tim Thomas had a record setting season and did win his second Vezina trophy, but that will probably be his last because he is older and plays a mediocre positioning game.

Rinne's heroics were counted on a lot last season for a Nashville team that nobody could argue has a better team defense than the Boston Bruins. You could talk about the amount of shots that Thomas faced, but there is no doubt that Rinne faced more quality shots per night then Thomas did.

If you go back and watch Rinne's highlights from this past season, you see how spectacular he had to be every single night. The Predators are surely in the playoff hunt every year that he continues to start in net.

Anyone who has seen enough of Rinne as opposed to Thomas will understand that saying that Rinne will be better next season is not so ludicrous. I know that it may seem ridiculous to most who read this article, but I think that the leaguewide appreciation of Rinne is just not enough.

If Rinne played in a bigger market, he would be called the best goaltender in the NHL hands down, regardless of what Tim Thomas did. He is a much more consistent puck-stopper than Henrik Lundqvist or Carey Price was last season.

I realize that the Predators were unable to do much against the Canucks after their first round win, but that cannot be pinned on Rinne, who battled extremely hard against Roberto Luongo. It was just too hard for Rinne to hang in when Vancouver was so obviously outplaying Nashville for most of the series.

Hopefully, this article will inspire some readers to take the time and watch some Preds games, even if it is inconvenient. You will be pleasantly surprised at how great it is to see the goalie position played correctly and confidently by Rinne.

Rinne will continue to do an excellent job in net for Nashville and next year his stats alone will convince everyone that he is the best goaltender in the NHL. He will win the Vezina Trophy and shock the hockey world.

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