While general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff suggested that Comrie’s arbitration case would have priced him out of their financial plans had they given him enough starts to avoid Group VI unrestricted free agency, it still does seem odd that they would make a change to Rittich, after his performance this year. The 29-year-old goaltender posted an .886 save percentage in 17 appearances for the Nashville Predators, numbers that following several relatively sub-par seasons.
In fact, Rittich holds a career save percentage of just .904 now, and has never posted a single season with a number over .911. “Big Save Dave” has been extremely inconsistent throughout his 152 NHL games, and now will be tasked with backing up a starting goaltender that plays more than most in the league. His starts will be sporadic, and while that may be why the team didn’t want to spend much on their backup position, if Hellebuyck were to suffer an injury, it’s hard to imagine Rittich leading them to the postseason.