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Nashville’s Rinne (hip infection) out at least a month

Oct 24, 2013, 11:28 AM EDT

rinnegetty Getty Images

The Predators suffered a major injury blow on Thursday, announcing that goalie Pekka Rinne would be lost for a minimum of four weeks with a spontaneous bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip.

Rinne, who turns 31 in November, underwent hip arthroscopy during the offseason, a major procedure that sidelined him for nearly four months. The recovery dipped into training camp and the exhibition season, though the Finnish netminder insisted he’d be “be 100 percent on opening night.”

While he was ready to play on opening night, he was hardly 100 percent, getting yanked after allowing three goals on six shots to St. Louis.

Rinne’s been good since, posting a 4-4-1 record with a .917 save percentage and 2.31 GAA, but there now have to be major concerns within the Nashville organization about the health of his hip, especially since he’s only in year two of a seven-year, $49 million contract extension.

The Preds may also have to adjust how they handle Rinne’s workload moving forward.

In 2011-12, he set league highs in games (73), shots faced (2,153) and finished second in minutes played (4,168). In 2013, he appeared in 43 of Nashville’s 48 games and appeared to wear down as the season progressed.

One problem with limiting Rinne’s minutes, though, is the lack of experience behind him. The No. 1 duties in Nashville now fall to Carter Hutton, a 27-year-old ex-Chicago farmhand with exactly three games of NHL experience. Behind Hutton is the recently-recalled Magnus Hellberg, who has never played in the NHL and has just 39 AHL games under his belt.

It’s possible the Preds could go looking for short-term, stopgap goalie help in the interim. Expect to hear Jose Theodore’s and Johan Hedberg’s names come up as potential replacements.

  1. storminator16 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Yikes!

  2. khudobinawesome - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I don’t know, Carter Hutton looked solid in the two games I’ve seen him in. I’m sure he can take most of the workload. Plus rookies sometimes have beginners luck on their sides for about a month anyway. (See Victor Fasth and Jhonas Enroth)

  3. bricevjohnson - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Carter Hutton reminds me a lot of Dan Ellis, in both their hybrid goaltending style, and the way they manage themselves. While neither goalie is a long term solution as a starter, I believe Hutton (just as Ellis did with Nashville and Anaheim) can take the ball and run with it until Rinne is better. As long as the goaltending is decent, the tight Nashville defensive system should take care of the rest.

  4. chuchie414 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    There was a lot off buzz about Hellberg’s play at last seasons end. This could be a chance to show the NHL his skill set in the big stage!

  5. bruinspaw - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    hope rinne gets better soon but no goalie speculation story would be complete without an honorary bryz mention…

  6. mcphillthy - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Mitch korn is one of the best, if not the best, goalie coach in the NHL. Mitch korn made Dan Ellis and Chris mason both look like stars in the league. I wouldn’t worry too much about who Nashville runs with. Mitch will mold them into something. He even made lindback look great when he was here.

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