Predators goalie not among finalists for rookie honor

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:30pm

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne will not win the Calder Trophy, which annually is presented to the NHL’s top rookie.

The 2009 award will go to one of three finalists named by the league on Wednesday – Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan, Chicago forward Kris Versteeg and Columbus goalie Steve Mason.

Rinne finished with a 29-15-4 record. His win total was third-highest in franchise history and tied for the eighth-most ever by an NHL rookie.

He was sixth in the NHL in goals-against average (2.38) and ninth in save percentage (.917), which made him the only rookie to rank among the top 10 in both categories for 2008-09. He also was tied for fourth with a franchise-record seven shutouts.

“I didn’t really set too many goals before the season,” Rinne said three days following the end of the season. “I kind of took every game as a new challenge. I didn’t know too much about the league.”

He emerged as Nashville’s top goalie following the All-Star break and recorded 22 of the team’s final 23 victories. His 52 games played not only surpassed the previous franchise rookie record of 37 set in 1998-99 by Tomas Vokoun, it was more than the total of all previous Predators’ rookies combined.

Rinne, 26, was the last player chosen in the eighth round (258th overall) of the 2004 Entry Draft.

Mason, 20, was a third-round choice (69th overall) in 2006. He helped lead Columbus to its first playoff berth with 33-20-7 record, a 2.29 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage and a league-leading 10 shutouts.

Ryan, 22, was the second overall selection in 2005. He led all rookies with 31 goals, 57 points, 12 power play goals and 23 power play points.

Versteeg was fifth-round pick (134th overall) by Boston in 2004. He led all rookies with 31 assists and four shorthanded goals, and was second to Ryan in points with 53.

The winner will be announced the NHL Awards banquet, June 18 in Las Vegas.