NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It will make sense one day to place Predators’ goaltender Pekka Rinne on Nashville’s “Mt. Rushmore,” celebrating the best and biggest sports figures to come through Music City. The only question is, will it be sooner than later?
Rinne, who was a backup to Juuse Saros this past season, spoke to the media during Wednesday’s season-ending press conference. News 2’s Kayla Anderson asked Rinne if he has made any decisions about his future in the game.
“I want to give it some time, think about things with my family. It’s a thing I’m thinking about a lot, but I’m not ready to make a decision yet,” said Rinne.
When it comes to making the right decision, Rinne feels like many factors come into play.
“To play at this level, it’s the passion. You know how much work needs to be done. I think those things, to me is the most important thing, the love for the game and passion. I feel like I still have that,” added Rinne.
The 38-year-old goalie sounds like he isn’t ready to call it a career yet, and he proved he can still be competitive at NHL level, registering a 2.84 GAA, a .907 SV%, and recorded two shutouts as a backup this past season.
Rinne will become a free agent on July 28th and if he doesn’t retire, there are several options for him, including playing back in Finland.
“It’s an option to go back home and play over there, I’ve seen the rumors about going to my hometown team and it’s an option,” said Rinne. “But when you’ve played a long time in the NHL, ideally that’s a place where I want to retire, at the highest level.”
It’s also possible that Rinne stays in the league, playing for another NHL team.
“I don’t want to close any doors to be honest. I’ve always said this is my team, but I don’t want to close any doors, or say anything I’d regret.”
And there is always a possibility that Rinne would be willing to accept a team-friendly one-year contract, something that Preds’ General Manager David Poile would likely agree to. And if there is one thing that netminder has made clear, it’s that he loves Nashville.
“I don’t want to give my speech here yet, but I’ve been so fortunate to be in one organization my whole career. For sure, it has changed my life and my family’s life, this is my home.”
Rinne says he’s met with Poile, and they have plans to meet again in the coming weeks to discuss the future.