Pekka Rinne has announced his retirement from the NHL after a 15-year career in goal with the Nashville Predators.
“This decision wasn’t easy,” Rinne wrote in The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday. “I spent the summer in Nashville with my fiancée, Erika, and our six-month-old son, Paulus. My body still feels like it could compete at the highest level … but my decision was about a lot more than that. Every time I looked at my son, at Erika — I just felt like a different person, almost, if that makes sense. My priorities had changed, and my mind knew that, even if my body didn’t. And when I really thought about what it would mean to not come back to the rink at the end of the summer, it just felt like the right choice, and the right time.
“I still feel that now. It’s the right time.”
Selected 258th overall in 2004 — back when the NHL Draft was nine rounds — Rinne spent most of his first three professional seasons in North American with AHL Milwaukee. He finally became a regular in Predators’ lineup beginning in 2008-09 when he made 52 appearances. That was the start of a long journey from late-round pick to franchise icon.
Rinne played all 683 games of his NHL career with the Predators and leaves as the franchise’s leader among goaltenders in games played, wins (369), shutouts (60), and saves (17,627). Along with the 2021 King Clancy Trophy, he was the 2018 Vezina Trophy winner, and a finalist three other times. He is also one of 12 goaltenders in league history to win 350 games and record 60 shutouts. Eight of those 12 goalies are Hall of Famers.
And how could we forget that he has a goal to his credit after hitting an empty-net in January 2020 against the Blackhawks.
Rinne was also an integral part in the rise of the franchise from expansion team to playoff team to Stanley Cup contender. With his help, the Predators reached the Cup Final in 2017 for the first time in their history. The growth of the sport in that market has grown significantly since his rookie season.
“You have to remember, the franchise had waited 19 years for a Stanley Cup Final,” Rinne wrote. “I had been in the net for 12 of those years. I knew what that series meant to all of us. We didn’t raise the Cup. But we turned Nashville into a hockey town.”