Pekka Rinne is hanging up the skates.
The longtime Nashville Predators goaltender announced his retirement from the NHL on Tuesday after 15 seasons.
“For more than 15 years, I’ve been on an incredible, life-changing journey with the Nashville Predators that has taken me to more places than I could have ever imagined and given me more than I could ever hope to give back,” Rinne said in a press release. “This decision wasn’t easy, but I know this is the right one at the right time. As I announce my retirement, I’m thankful for my parents, sisters, fiancé Erika, everyone in the Predators organization – management, coaches and trainers – my teammates and my youth coaches back in Finland. Last but not least, I’m thankful for the people of Nashville. Each of you helped me grow into the man, father and person I am today.”
Rinne added in a piece for The Players’ Tribune that his body still feels like it could compete “at the highest level,” but his decision to retire was about “a lot more than that.”
“Every time I looked at my son, at Erika — I just felt like a different person, almost, if that makes sense. My priorities had changed, and my mind knew that, even if my body didn’t,” Rinne wrote. “And when I really thought about what it would mean to not come back to the rink at the end of the summer, it just felt like the right choice, and the right time.”
Rinne spent his entire career with the Predators and is the franchise’s leader in nearly every goaltending category, including games played (683), wins (369), goals-against average (2.43), total time on ice (39,413:29), shutouts (60) and saves (17,627).
The 38-year-old won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender in 2018 and was also a finalist for the award in 2011, 2012 and 2015. He earned four All-Star Game selections in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Rinne’s 2.43 GAA is tied for the fourth-best mark among goaltenders with at least 350 wins in NHL history. He trails only Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek and Jacques Plante.
While the native of Finland had long been one of the NHL’s best goaltenders, his play declined in recent seasons. During the 2020-21 campaign, he went 10-12-1 with a 2.84 GAA and .907 SV%. Juuse Saros started more games last season and proved to be the better goaltender.
In his Players’ Tribune piece, Rinne praised Saros, saying he’s the right guy to protect the crease in Nashville for years to come.
“I’m going to miss being between the pipes for you guys at Bridgestone Arena, but when I watch some games next year and I see Juuse in net, I’ll know it’s being protected by the right guy,” he said.
Rinne will go down as one of the best netminders in NHL history, and his impact on the game, especially in Nashville, will not be forgotten.