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Preds hope for more from Rinne in 2013-14

Aug 18, 2013, 6:50 PM EST

pekkarinnegetty Getty Images

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.

Context clues

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.

Defense bolstered

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.

Now, if he could just get some goal support

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  1. jacketsfan7 - Aug 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    No where would I blame Rinne ever for Nashvilles season , they didnt do much in front for him

  2. nolockoutpricks - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    what do you expect when you lose the best d-man in the NHL? that would be Ryan sutter

  3. prov1x - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    He played hurt the entire year.

  4. hines86for6 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Ryan Suter the best defenseman in the league? lulz

    he’s top 10

  5. ppw1212 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Pekka had/has a bad hip. Wont even be ready for the start of the season. He may never be the same again

  6. gekkoguy82 - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Even an average Rinne is better than half the starters in the league. Until he can start scoring goals on his own, I don’t think the Preds can ask a whole lot more of him.

  7. deathbyspl - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Rinne will continue to be elite when he’s healed. He went to one of the best arthroscopic surgeons in the world at Vanderbilt Hospital. Pekka will be elite for a few more years. Bigger question is who will be his backup.

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