Another month, another set of report cards for our intrepid Predators. Sure, the jump in the standings looks great, but which individuals are helping or hindering the team's chances these days?
After the jump, let's start with the goalies...
November saw Rinne finally assume command over the Nashville goaltending situation, as he started 10 of the 13 contests and won seven of them. There have been occasional letdowns, but overall he's given the Predators a chance to win; even his final game of the month, a 5-0 defeat to Calgary wasn't attributable to him. His seven wins all came in a streak that ran from November 12 in St. Louis to November 25 in Colorado, a run which lifted Nashville back into playoff position in the Western Conference.
That said, Rinne's performance has been more steady than sensational. That's not necessarily bad news, as it means that what we're seeing is sustainable (unlike what Colorado got out of Craig Andersen early on). But he's also a good step below the elite goaltenders of the NHL. Might that ultimately make it a little easier for David Poile to sign him to a contract extension?
|2009 - Pekka Rinne||10||610||7
Pekka Rinne's grade: B+
Lost in all the excitement over Rinne's winning streak is the fact that when called upon for a rare start, Dan Ellis has been outstanding. During a critical west coast road trip, he pulled out a huge 3-1 win over Los Angeles, and nearly stole a point in San Jose before a weak last-minute goal cost Nashville the game. It was a full 18 days before he started again, at home vs. Florida on Saturday, but he was crisp and effective in a 4-1 triumph.
If Rinne gets the bulk of the work going forward, the Predators will need Ellis at his best when needed, and so far, he's done well. With back-to-back games coming up Friday in Chicago and Saturday at home vs. Minnesota, it's likely we'll see him again soon.
|2009 - Dan Ellis||3||180||2||1||6||2.00||81
Dan Ellis' grade:B+