Pekka Rinne Wins 2018 Vezina Trophy

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2018

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, of Finland, blocks a shot against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Sunday, April 29, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was named the 2018 Vezina Trophy winner Wednesday after leading his team to the playoffs with outstanding numbers.

The Winnipeg Jets' Connor Hellebuyck and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy were the other finalists.

Rinne becomes the first Vezina winner in Predators history. He had previously been a finalist for the award three times in his career.

An eighth-round pick in 2004, Rinne just completed his 12th season in the league, all with Nashville. This was arguably the 35-year-old's best season to date. 

Just one year after leading his team to its first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance, he found a way to up his game.

In 59 games, Rinne went 42-13-4 with a 2.31 GAA and a .927 save percentage. He ranked third in the league in wins and tied for first in shutouts (eight); for netminders with at least 50 games, he ranked first in GAA and save percentage.

With the Predators chasing their first-ever Presidents' Trophy, he was at his best. He went 23-5-1 over his final 29 regular-season appearances.

The Nashville star proved time and time again that he can deny shots in a variety of ways:

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Rinne and the Predators were unable to build on last year's playoff success, however. Winnipeg eliminated Nashville in the second round in a series that went seven games. 

It may not be the trophy at the top of Rinne's list this season, but it's well-deserved nonetheless.