It’s the end of an era in Smashville.
On Tuesday morning, goaltender Pekka Rinne officially announced his retirement after 15 NHL seasons and 17 total spent in the Nashville Predators organization.
It’s hard to think of a Predators roster that doesn’t feature Rinne tending its crease.
The 38-year-old exits the only franchise he’s ever known as perhaps the most successful player in its entire history, holding team records in nearly every quantifiable goaltending statistic such as games played, wins, goals-against average, total time on ice, shutouts, and saves. If that weren’t enough, Rinne also racked up quite the collection of hardware throughout his career as well, retiring with a Vezina Trophy atop his mantle along with the King Clancy Trophy he won this past season, and both a first- and second-team All-Star Selection, to boot.
Yet for all his statistical success, what makes Rinne’s career so impressive is perhaps how unlikely it appeared from the onset.
The native of Kempele, Finland was an eight-round pick of the Predators in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, forced to sit and watch 257 players hear their names called before ultimately walking to the podium himself during a round that no longer exists.
And yet, Rinne managed to parlay his lackluster draft position into a body of work that is truly enviable, finishing his career as one of the greatest goaltenders in his nation’s history with records for most NHL games played, wins, and shutouts by a Finnish-born netminder.
While undoubtedly a fixture on the ice, Rinne’s presence in Nashville will be sorely missed outside of the rink, as well.
The veteran was a staple of the local community throughout his career, with Rinne taking home the 2021 King Clancy Trophy thanks in large part to his extensive work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, along with the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s, and Best Buddies, a non-profit group that works to support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Furthermore, in 2012, Rinne and former Predators captain, Shea Weber established the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund which ultimately raised over $3 million for cancer research for a local hospital, showing a player who used his platform to make a difference.
Wherever Rinne’s post-retirement career takes him, it’s safe to say his impact on the city of Nashville, and the NHL at large, will never be forgotten.