Rinne likely to start season as Preds No. 1 goalie - WSMV News 4

Rinne likely to start season as Preds No. 1 goalie

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Predators coach Peter Laviolette Predators coach Peter Laviolette

When you’re as invested as Peter Laviolette and the entire Predators organization, an early playoff exit is hard.

That was the feeling at Monday’s end of the season press conference with Laviolette and General Manager David Poile.

“It’s going to eat at you. You’re going to carry it around with you. You’re going cry, mope around and be grumpy. There’s nothing you can do about it,” said Laviolette.

The Predators’ season ended in a Game 7 loss to Winnipeg one season after the team advanced to its first-ever Stanley Cup Final.

Among the array of topics at the press conference was the future of 36-year-old goalie Pekka Rinne, who will be entering the final season of his current contract.

Rinne said on Saturday that he felt great but knows the time is coming for Juuse Saros to take over in net.

“Pekka’s been the No. 1 goalie for this organization. He’ll enter the season next season the same way,” said Laviolette. “He’s up for the Vezina Trophy. He’s one of the best goaltenders in the world. We’re fortunate to have him.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have a young guy like Juuse here who continues to impress us. As we moved through the season, we were able to find more games for Juuse and that could very well be the same thing next year.”

The Predators will be losing at least three players from the current squad.

Scott Hartnell and Alexi Emelin will not be back on the team while Mike Fisher, as he said on Saturday, will retire for good.

Expect Ryan Hartman, picked up in a late-season trade, to return next season. However the forward will have surgery to repair a torn labrum he played with during the postseason.

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