Pekka Rinne (born 3.11.1982) is a Finnish ice hockey goaltender. He has been playing in the NHL since 2005 and he has played his entire NHL career with the Nashville Predators.
Pekka Rinne played three seasons with Oulun Kärpät U20 – junior team (2000-2003). He played one game in season 2002-03 in Finnish SM-Liiga with Oulun Kärpät. In season 2003-04, Rinne played 14 games with Kärpät, but was mainly backup of star goalie Niklas Bäckström. He also played 8 games in the same season in Finnish 2nd tier (Mestis) with Kajaanin Hokki. In season 2004-05, same trend continues – Rinne played 10 games well, but was backup of Bäckström. Rinne was drafted 258th overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by Nashville Predators.
Milwaukee Admirals and Nashville Predators
On 23.5.2005, Rinne signed contract with the Predators. He began his North American playing career with the Milwaukee Admirals (Predators AHL affiliate). In season 2005-06, Rinne played 65 games with the Admirals and 2 games with the Predators. In season 2006-07, Rinne played only with the Admirals and in season 2007-08, he played one game with the Predators and rest of the season with the Admirals.
After three seasons with the Admirals, Rinne finally get his position with the Predators. In season 2008-09, Rinne started as backup to Dan Ellis, but was sensational. He broke Predators Franchise record with seven shutouts. In season 2010-11, Rinne was first time named one of the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, as a best goalie of NHL (he became 2nd). Rinne also finished 4th in Hart Memorial Trophy, as the NHL’s most valuable player. On 3.11.2011, Rinne signed seven-year 49 million dollars contract with the Predators.
In season 2011-12, Rinne leading NHL in wins, shot against, saves and games played. He was again named a finalist for a Vezina Trophy. On 25.9.2012, Rinne joined Dinamo Minsk of the KHL due to the NHL lockout. In 2014-15, Rinne was third time a Vezina Trophy finalist, he lost to the Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price. In 2017-18 season, Rinne was 4th time named of the finalists for the Vezina trophy – this time Rinne won it on 20.6.2018. On 3.11.2018, Rinne signed a two-year contract extension with the Predators.
Rinne has been named four times in NHL All-Star Game (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019). He has been named once to the NHL Second All-Star Team (2011) and once to the NHL First All-Star Team (2018). In season 2020-21, Rinne is still playing with the Predators, but he has been mostly backup to another Finnish goalie – Juuse Saros.
Pekka Rinne was a late bloomer and he never played at junior Championships. Rinne has played four times in the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships (2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015). In 2014 World Championships, Rinne was named to the All-Star Team and selected as the MVP of the tournament – Finland won silver medal. In 2015 World Championships, Rinne was named for the tournament’s best goaltender. Rinne was also in the Finland’s 2016 World Cup of Hockey roster.