Written By Dan Greene
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne had an outstanding 2010-11 campaign that propelled the Predators to a fifth place finish in the very tough Western Conference. In 64 regular season games Rinne won 32 games while posting a 2.12 goals against average (third in NHL) and .930 save percentage (second in NHL). This performance made him a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s top goaltender.
While Rinne did not win the award (the trophy was awarded to Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas), he did gain a lot of respect. This is evident by the votes he received for the Vezina Trophy as well as the Hart Trophy, which is the “oldest and most prestigious individual award in hockey,” awarded to the player who is considered to be the Most Valuable Player of the NHL. In the Vezina voting, the Finnish goaltender finished second with 84 points (6-17-3) which was just 20 points behind Thomas and 51 points ahead of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. Rinne finished in a very respectable fourth place in the Hart voting with 175 points (1-2-17-17-15), which made him the goaltender with the most votes for the trophy.
Pekka was also named an NHL Second Team All-Star along with fowards Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning), and defensemen Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins) Lubomir Visnovsky (Anaheim Ducks).
Even though this up and coming goaltender did not bring home any hardware, it is safe to say that he should be in contention to bring some home in the near future.