Predators fans knew this day was looming right around the corner, its forthcoming virtually cemented by the victory lap he took after what would become his final win (and shutout) in the NHL on May 10.
On Tuesday morning, Pekka Rinne announced his retirement from the NHL after 15 years- all of them spent with Nashville. Rinne holds nearly every goalie record in Preds franchise history, including wins, shutouts, games played, and goals-against average. He's arguably one of the biggest draft steals of all time, falling to the Preds' 258th overall pick in the 8th round of the 2004 draft. He's a Vezina Trophy winner, a newly minted King Clancy Trophy winner, a goalie goal scorer, and indubitably the greatest Finnish goaltender ever.
Here's a condensed list of Rinne's accomplishments:
Wins: With his seminal 5-0 shutout on May 10, Rinne tied Tom Barrasso at 369 career wins for the rank of 19th all-time in the NHL.
Shutouts: In that same May 10 game, Rinne surpassed Evgeni Nabokov with 60 career shutouts for 19th all-time.
Win Streaks: Rinne has not only one, but two 11-game win streaks in his career. The first came during the 2011-12 season and the second came during his Vezina-winning 2017-18 season.
Goals Against Average: Among goalies who have played 10 or more seasons in the NHL, Rinne's 2.43 GAA is tied with Cory Schneider for 16th all-time.
Save Percentage: Among goalies who have played 10 or more seasons in the NHL, Rinne finishes his career conveniently tied with former Preds goaltender Tomas Vokoun at a .917 SV% for 11th all-time.
Saves: Rinne's 17,627 career saves come in at 25th all-time.
Goals: Who could forget this gem? On Jan. 9, 2020 in Chicago, Rinne's one and only career goal made him just the 12th goalie in NHL history to score a goal.
Perhaps most importantly- aside from his impressive statistical compendium- Pekka Rinne was a genuinely good person who touched the hearts of so many and will leave Nashville with a legacy of goodwill. Along with Shea Weber, Rinne launched the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, which collaborates with Vanderbilt's Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Rinne accommodates the kids during what seems like every Preds home-stand with personal visits and events that just melt your heart every time you hear about them.
During Barry Trotz's beloved tenure with the team, Rinne and Weber joined him in participating in the Best Buddies program, which caters to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Rinne has been an active "buddy" to countless people within the foundation, and attends their prom each year.
After innumerable incredible saves, a run to the Stanley Cup Final, a Winter Classic, and more, Rinne closed out his career with a storybook ending on that May 10 game. Rinne became a father in December 2020 (to his own son, not to Juuse Saros) and, as bashful and humble he may be about admitting it, Rinne is a fixture in the Nashville landscape. We'll see him again, but this time he'll get to yell the You Sucks along with us.
Oh, and don't be surprised if number 35 becomes the franchise's first retired number.