Aug 18, 2013, 6:50 PM EDT
At face value, Pekka Rinne didn’t handle the title of $7 million goalie very well in 2013.
His save percentage plummeted to .910 after he registered sterling .923 and .930 marks the previous two seasons. Perhaps even worse for a workhorse goalie: his record was below .500 at 15-16-8.
A closer look might argue that Rinne’s work tends to rise and fall with the way the Nashville Predators play in front of him.
Sure, you hope that a guy in his pay grade can overcome difficult circumstances, but there wasn’t as much slippage as you might expect.
The 30-year-old netminder’s even-strength save percentage was .927, which more or less falls in line with his work from recent seasons. Much of his struggles likely come in lockstep with bigger picture problems for Nashville (which probably have a least something to do with losing 2013 Norris Trophy finalist Ryan Suter).
The price of a big contract
Still, some serious pressure comes with that $7 million cap hit.
Rinne may need to steal some games to silence murmurs about that contract morphing into an albatross. It’s not particularly fair – especially considering the passive nature of his position – but that’s often how sports work.
On the bright side, the future of the defense in front of the big Finn looks increasingly bright. Shea Weber is in a select class of elite defensemen, Roman Josi is one of the league’s hidden gems and Seth Jones drew serious consideration as the top prospect from the 2013 NHL Draft.
Context likely explains some of Rinne’s best and worst moments up to this point, so the good news is that Nashville’s defensive outlook seems promising.
More from Predators day at PHT
- Lightning ‘answer the challenge’ in Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final 7
- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 14
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 69
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 32
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 54
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 14
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Stanley Cup Final to begin June 3 10
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (69)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ (54)