There were no shortage of disappointments for the Nashville Predators in 2013. Even their big name players, as low in quantity as they are on this roster, failed to perform at the level we are accustomed to seeing them at. One of the larger disappointments was the play of Pekka Rinne.
Coming off of a disappointing performance in the 2011-2012 postseason, Rinne spent a good chunk of the first half of the year carrying the Predators. This was a team that actually remained in the playoff race for much longer than anyone had anticipated. Most of that was due to the play of Rinne.
Then came the meltdown. In March and April, Rinne found himself pulled from a couple of different starts, with a stretch of six straight games in April in which he did not manage a win. Despite the fact that he had five shutouts on the year, tied for the most in the league, his final numbers on the season were not impressive.
After a season in which he was a Vezina Trophy finalist, Rinne really had some trouble behind a Nashville club that sputtered for most of the year. His save percentage fell to .910, thirteen points behind the previous season, while he saw a rise in his goals against average, up to 2.43. Had it not been for that early season brilliance, those numbers could have been worse.
At least we now know that there’s a reason for that, aside from the obvious explanation of him being overworked. Rinne underwent hip surgery almost immediately after the season had ended. He’s expected to be ready in time for training camp. This was an injury that needed attention early on, and only seemed to get worse for Rinne.
Which means that we should see him return to form next season. This season’s performance shouldn’t be blamed entirely on the injury, but it obviously played a large part in it. Provided everything goes as scheduled with his recovery, he should be ready to go and will be back into the conversation with the elite goaltenders next season.