With 30 games in the books, it's a fine time to evaluate how the Nashville Predators are doing from both a team and individual perspective, so we'll kick off this series of reviews with the goalies. One of the teams' fundamental strengths over the last several years has been superior goaltending, and a common catchphrase around Smashville is that Mitch Korn is perhaps the MVP of the organization, due to his ability to get the most out of a variety of netminders regardless of their individual styles or athletic ability.
So how are Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback doing thus far? Read on...
And for a break-down of even-strength save percentage as compared to the penalty kill...
|Player||Even: SA||GA||Sv||Sv%||PK: SA||GA||Sv||Sv%|
It's a tough gig being a #1 goaltender in the NHL, the margin for error seems to get increasingly slim with each passing year. So far, I'd have to say that Peks has been good, but not great, as all it takes is one bad stretch (like from November 19 to December 8, when he gave up at least 3 goals in 7 out of 8 games) to drag the overall performance down.
And it's not like a lot of special teams work undermines his overall numbers. Peks stands 13th in even-strength save percentage among goalies with at least 15 Games Played so far (half-time or more), squarely in the middle of the pack. Yes, this is just another reminder about the dangers of committing large amounts of money long-term to a position which has so much parity at the moment.
Could some of this regression be due to the underwhelming performance of the skaters in front of Rinne, particularly the large number of rookies and second-year players the team has relied upon? It's possible - and that's why (along with high marks for attendance) I'm not lowering his grade any further.
Anders The Giant hasn't seen enough work to categorically know whether or not he's progressing as an NHL netminder, and his story will be an interesting one to follow for the rest of the season. If he's going to remain as Pekka's backup, one would think he needs to get a few more starts to not only keep him fresh but to avoid wearing down Rinne prior to the playoffs (assuming they make it there).
On the other hand, @FakeLindback has been the team's Twitter MVP so far this season.