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Pekka Rinne Announces NHL Retirement After 15-Year Career with Predators

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2021

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) plays against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, May 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

Longtime Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne announced his retirement from the NHL on Tuesday:

"For more than 15 years, I've been on an incredible, life-changing journey with the Nashville Predators that has taken me to more places than I could have ever imagined and given me more than I could ever hope to give back. This decision wasn't easy, but I know this is the right one at the right time. As I announce my retirement, I'm thankful for my parents, sisters, fiancΓ© Erika, everyone in the Predators organization - management, coaches and trainers - my teammates and my youth coaches back in Finland. Last but not least, I'm thankful for the people of Nashville. Each of you helped me grow into the man, father and person I am today."

The 38-year-old Rinne made his NHL debut with the Preds during the 2005-06 season and spent his entire 15-year NHL career in Nashville.

Rinne appeared in 683 regular-season games, making 666 starts and going 369-213-75 with a 2.43 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and 60 shutouts.

The Finland native ranks first in Nashville history in virtually every major goaltending category, including wins, GAA and shutouts.

Rinne was a four-time All-Star and won the 2018 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender. He was a Vezina finalist on three other occasions.

Per the Predators, Rinne is one of only 12 goalies in NHL history with at least 350 wins and 60 shutouts. Eight of them are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Rinne enjoyed playoff success as well, going 45-44 in 89 starts and posting a 2.49 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and five shutouts.

He led the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, the only Final appearance in franchise history. They fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Rinne, who holds the NHL record for most wins and shutouts by a Finnish goaltender, split time in goal with Juuse Saros over the past few seasons.

Saros was the primary starter in 2020-21, but Rinne appeared in 24 games and made 21 starts. He went 10-12-1 with a 2.84 GAA, .907 save percentage and two shutouts.

One of those shutouts came in the final game of his career as he blanked the Carolina Hurricanes on May 10 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

In an article for the Players' Tribune, Rinne wrote that he wasn't certain that night whether it was his final game, but he knew it was a possibility.

He said having his fiancee and son in the crowd meant a lot to him, as did his teammates' telling him to essentially take a curtain call at center ice.

The capper for Rinne's NHL career came after the season when he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the player who "best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."

An eighth-round pick in the 2004 NHL draft, Rinne exceeded expectations during his NHL career and established himself as one of the top goalies of the past two decades.