|Born||November 3, 1982 (1982-11-03) |
|Height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Weight||204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)|
HC Dinamo Minsk
|NHL Draft||258th overall, 2004|
Pekka Rinne (born on November 3, 1982) is a Finnish professional hockey goaltender who plays for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL).
He was nominated for the Vezina Trophy in 2011 and 2012.
Pekka was developed in Kärpät playing predominantly for their junior team between 2000–2003 and after that, for their men's team in championship-winning years 2004 and 2005, mostly as a backup of Niklas Bäckström.
Pekka was drafted 258th overall in the 8th round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL).
On August 23, 2005, he was signed by the Predators and began his North American playing career with the Predators' top minor league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Initially he, was slated to be the backup for Brian Finley, but Pekka became the starter as a consequence of Finley's poor play.
In the summer of 2006, Pekka was "roughed up by a couple of unknown assailants." During the fight, he dislocated his shoulder and as a result, he had to have surgery, missing the first four months of the season.
He appeared in two NHL games with Nashville during the 2005–06 season. He compiled a record of 1–1–0 with a .900 save percentage and a GAA of 3.80.
Following Dan Ellis's stellar performance in the 2007–08 Nashville Predators campaign, starter Chris Mason was traded to the St. Louis Blues and Pekka was called up to serve as back-up to Ellis for the 2008–09 season.
On December 1, 2008, Pekka became only the second Predators rookie goaltender ever to record a shutout.
In February of 2009, he recorded nine wins in twelve games and had a 0.944 save percentage and a 1.72 goals against average.
Pekka was selected as the NHL rookie of the month. On March 14, 2009, he set a Predators franchise record with his seventh shutout of the season.
Pekka was one of two goaltenders to play for Finland in the 2009 IIHF World Championship of hockey, the other one being Karri Ramo.
He started the tournament with a shutout in his first game in the Finnish national hockey team, saving 30 shots.
In the 2010–11 season opener, Pekka allowed a goal before colliding with Ducks forward Troy Bodie and suffering a lower-body injury.
Anders Lindback relieved him and went on to start three games before Pekka returned, only for him to go down again in December.
Since returning on December 23, 2011, he remained healthy and put up some of the better numbers of his career, including a 1.71 GAA and .946 save percentage in the month of January.
At the conclusion of the season came many accolades, Pekka was named one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, conferred to the best goaltender in the NHL as judged by the league's General Managers.
He finished 4th in the Hart Trophy voting and was also named an NHL Second Team All-Star.
Pekka led the Predators to their first ever playoff series win in franchise history, in the 2010–11 playoffs.
After shutting out the Anaheim Ducks on October 29, 2011, he set the mark for the Predators franchise record for shutouts with 22.
On November 3, 2011, Pekka signed a 7-year deal worth $49 million, the largest contract in Nashville Predators team history (since surpassed by his teammate Shea Weber and his 13-year contract worth $114 million).
During the 2011–12 season, he set a franchise record with 11 consecutive wins, passing Tomas Vokoun's previous mark of 8.
Pekka had another excellent year, leading the NHL in wins, shots against, saves and games played.
On April 25, 2012, he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the NHL's top goaltender for the second consecutive year.
He helped the Predators get past the Detroit Red Wings to win the series 4–1. Rinne and the Predators were unable to advance any further, falling to the Phoenix Coyotes in five games in the next round.
On September 25, 2012, Pekka joined HC Dinamo Minsk of the KHL due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout
He left Dinamo in December and returned to the Predators at the end of the lockout in January of 2013.
In May of 2013, Pekka had a hip arthroscopy. On October 24, 2013, his hip became infected which left him off the ice & he underwent rigorous rehabilitation for the rest of 2013.
On March 5, 2014, he returned in a 3-1 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins, allowing 3 goals.
|2012–13||HC Dinamo Minsk||KHL||22||9||11||—||—||1327||68||1||3.08||.897|
- NHL Second All-Star Team (2011)
- Finalist for Vezina Trophy (2011 and 2012)
Pekka utilizes the popular Butterfly style of goaltending, dropping to his knees early and using his leg pads to block low shot attempts.
At 6'5" (1.96m), he is currently the third largest starting goaltender in the NHL (behind his former backup Anders Lindback at 6'6" (1.98m) and Ben Bishop at 6'7" (2.01m), both of the Tampa Bay Lightning) which gives him tremendous reach with his stick and leg pads.
Rinne was engaged to The Voice of Finland contestant, Kirsi Lehtosaari, in April 2013. Lehtosaari reported in engagement announcements that living in a music city like Nashville helped her aspiration to become a pop star. She planned to continue her music interests in Nashville until the end of Rinne's NHL career. Rinne, likewise, planned to return to Finland after his retirement.
In May 2014, Lehtosaari speculated that wedding plans will be discussed after Rinne's return from the IIHF World Championship.
The engagement, however, was called off around July 2015. Lehtosaari currently resides in Helsinki as a yoga instructor.