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Instant Analysis: Pekka Rinne Signs Two-Year Deal to Remain in Nashville

Goaltender Inks Deal to Stay With Only NHL Club He's Ever Known

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

Now that's a birthday gift.

Seven years after he signed a long-term deal on the day he turned 29, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has put pen to paper on his birthday once more, inking a two-year, $10 million deal to remain in Nashville through the 2020-21 season.

The only NHL club he's ever played for, Rinne has expressed his desire before - and especially as of late - to finish his career in the Music City. Now 36, that wish is two more years closer to becoming reality.

Preds General Manager David Poile and Rinne's camp agreed on term and dollars for a player who, at age 35, won his first Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender. That number is typically the point when goaltenders begin to show noticeable regressions as they get older, not able to perform at the same level as they once did in the prime of their careers.

Not Rinne.

Originally selected by the Predators in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5 Finn made his first appearance in a Nashville jersey during 2005-06 campaign and has been the go-to goalie for 11 consecutive seasons.

Rinne started 59 games in 2017-18 - his lowest total since in injury-plagued 2013-14 campaign - and yet recorded 42 wins, just one off his career high set in 2012. His .927 save percentage last season was also the second-best mark of his career, and his eight shutouts were a personal high.

Not only has Rinne proven he can still compete at the NHL level, but he deserves to remain in the conversation of the League's elite.

And a two-year deal is perfect for both sides.

Consider another contract that was completed this past summer, one that will keep puck-stopper Juuse Saros in Nashville through, you guessed it, the 2020-21 season. Not only have Rinne and Saros formed arguably the most formidable one-two goaltending tandem in the NHL, but Rinne's impact on the development of his fellow Finn is immeasurable.

In addition to living under Rinne's roof while acclimating to life in Tennessee, Saros has also leaned on his goaltending partner for advice and guidance as he morphs into what the Predators hope is their netminder of the future. It's been joked that the two are like father and son, and their relationship flirts with that level, the man of the present turning the other into the man of the future.

When the contracts both expire in 2021, the Preds should have a picture-perfect view of what's next in their crease. Will it be time to lock Saros into a long-term deal? Will Rinne still have what it takes to steal a game when needed?

The Predators probably wouldn't mind the answer to both of those questions being "yes."

Time will tell if a 39th birthday gift will be in store come November of 2021, but one thing is for certain in the present - he's more than earned his 36 candles to date.

And after reaffirming his commitment to this franchise, this city and these fans, his next standing ovation might be the most boisterous yet.

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