Rinne was selected in eighth round (No. 258) by the Nashville Predators in the 2004 NHL Draft, soon after he and Karpat Oulu won the first of two consecutive championships in Liiga, the top professional league in his native Finland.
He moved to North America for the 2005-06 season and won his NHL debut for Nashville on Dec. 15, 2005, against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the first of two games he played in the League that season. Rinne tied for second in the American Hockey League with 30 regular-season wins in 2005-06, then had 10 postseason wins (three shutouts) to lead Milwaukee to the 2006 Calder Cup Final.