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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nashville Predators Look to the $49 Million Man for the Stanley Cup by Get Real Hockey

The Nashville Predators resigned goaltender Pekka Rinne to a 7-year $49 million dollar contract last week making him the highest paid player in franchise history. Not only does this signing mean that Nashville is willing to dip a little farther into the cap to keep a franchise and Vezina quality goaltender around. It also is the first step towards the important goal of keeping captain Shea Weber. The extension to Rinne’s contract says that Nashville is serious about taking steps towards winning the Cup sometime in the near future.

Rinne celebrated his new deal, signed on his twenty first birthday, by shutting out the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0. For Preds fans across the world this shut out was a welcome sight. Rinne has been absolutely outstanding so far this season, however, at times he has given up goals that were unlike the Rinne of last season. Rinne is already the franchise leader in shutouts and currently leads the league in shutouts, a trend that probably won’t be changing anytime soon. As the face of an organization that has struggled to get respected, and publicity the long term signing of Rinne is the best thing that has happened. Finally the Predators have proved to fans that they are ready to stop the recent trend in the revolving goaltending door. Over the course of franchise history almost every solid starting goalie has been pushed out by his backup. Examples are Dunham starting till Vokoun started shining, goodbye Dunham. Vokoun enjoyed a stellar career in Nashville until Chris Mason proved to be worthy as a starter, after Mason came Ellis, then Rinne. Last season the trend appeared it might continue on as backup Anders Lindback stepped up and played unbelievably when Rinne was injured.

This contract symbolizes several things that Predators fans everywhere can celebrate. The end of the revolving goaltending, that the Predators are willing to dig deep into their pockets to help make a run at the cup. Hopefully this is just the first of the Predators resigning the rest of the Big 3. As a Predators fan I can only hope that Suter and Weber will feel that this is an organization that is moving in the right direction to win a Stanley Cup in the near future, and the sign a long term contract just like Rinne has.

- Isaac Berky

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