Even though Nashville wasn’t able to find any success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last April, goaltender Pekka Rinne certainly did his part to give the Preds a chance at a deep run. Rinne has been in contention for the Vezina Trophy several times over the last decade, finishing top-10 in voting five times during that span and winning the award once. Rinne had yet another solid regular season in 2018-19, going 30-19-4 over 55 starts. He also gave up just 130 goals all year long, his lowest total since 2013-14 where he only played in 24 games.
While his .918 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average where both slightly higher than they were during his Vezina Trophy winning season, Rinne still ranked well inside of the Top-15 goalies league-wide and recorded four shutouts. Although the departure of star defenseman P.K. Subban will certainly have a big impact on the blueline, Rinne is still surrounded by a ton of defensive talent that should provide enough support on a nightly basis to allow him to post impressive numbers yet again this year.
He also might be given a few more maintenance days during the regular season, as backup Juuse Saros has demonstrated that he is also an elite talent in his own right. With a bit of extra rest and a wealth of talent in front of him, Rinne should have a great shot at seriously contending for the Vezina yet again in 2019-20. That is, of course, if he can find a way to stay healthy for the duration of his 14th NHL season.
Pekka Rinne Vezina Trophy Odds Compared to Other Across the NHL?
Betting markets seem to be fairly high on Rinne’s Vezina chances heading into the regular season, as he currently sits +2000 to win the award. While those odds have him priced as a bit more of an underdog than he has been in other recent seasons, there could be some value at that number if the Predators new-look defensive corps can gel together quickly. Rinne does appear to have some stiff competition currently ranked inside the top five favorites, including Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen (+550), 2018-19 Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevskiy (+600), and Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky (+1000).
Other serious contenders include Ben Bishop (+750), Marc-Andre Fleury (+1100), and Carey Price (+1200). Narrowing down the eventual winner this early in the season can often prove to be quite challenging, as goaltenders statistical performance is usually highly dependent on how well their team performs in front of them. Rinne appears to be in a very good spot in that regard, as the Predators are currently the favorite to win the highly-competitive Central Division and have the fifth-best odds at winning the Western Conference outright. Nashville also is well-positioned in the race for the Stanley Cup, sitting as the sixth most-likely team to win the ultimate prize in June 2020.