The Nashville Predators announced they have signed Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pekka Rinne to a two-year, $10MM contract extension (35+ contract). He will receive $6MM for the 2019-20 season and then $4MM for the 2020-21 season. Rinne is the team’s all-time leader in wins (315) and shutouts (52).
“Pekka Rinne has been the most impactful player our franchise has ever had, both on the ice as one of the NHL’s best goaltenders, and off the ice as a leader in the community,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “Both the organization and Pekka want him to play his entire career with the Predators, and this helps accomplish that objective, while also stabilizing our goaltending for at least the next two seasons beyond 2018-19. We feel the tandem of Pekka and Juuse Saros is among the best in the League.”
Rinne had the best season of his career in 2017-18, winning his first Vezina Trophy award, given to the league’s best goaltender. The then 35-year-old posted 42 wins, a 2.31 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Currently, despite missing some time with an injury, Rinne is still putting up solid numbers as he has a 1.91 GAA and a .944 save percentage in six appearances. Rinne is finishing up a seven-year, $49MM deal at $7MM per year. The new contract will see his AAV decline to $5MM per season. The Athletic’s Adam Vingan reports that Rinne will continue to have a no-trade clause and a modified no-movement clause on his deal with the same restrictions that he had on his previous deal, including a 10-team trade list.
The two-year deal makes sense for the Predators, although it had been looking more and more that the team has a future goaltender in Saros who is likely ready to take the reigns as starting goaltender now. Saros recently filled in as starter when Rinne went down and has six wins, a 2.50 GAA and a .917 save percentage in eight appearances. However, with both under contract for two more years after this one, the team should have one of the best goaltending tandems in the league. The most impressive part is that they will have both goaltenders at a combined $6.5MM for the next two seasons, a significant bargain, considering the kind of money that many goaltenders have been getting recently.
The extension also takes away some of the intrigue of the 2019 goaltending free agent market which would have starred Rinne, Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov, among others. Rinne gets a double bonus today as he gets his extension on his birthday as the goaltender turned 36 today. Coincidentally, Rinne also signed his last seven-year deal with Nashville on his birthday seven years ago today.