Pekka Rinne, the best player in Nashville Predators franchise history, will be around for at least three more years. And with that, the window for the Predators claiming their first ever Stanley Cup Championship remains open a little longer.

The Nashville Predators announced today that Pekka Rinne has signed a two-year contract extension worth $10 million total. The deal kicks in for the 2019-20 season, where Rinne will earn $6 million, then it drops to $4 million for the 2020-21 season.

This is as good a contract as the Preds could have hoped for with Rinne, especially considering what it does for their chances at a Stanley Cup.

Rinne, Cup Window Extended

Since he will officially be around a few more years, it’s safe to finally say it: Pekka Rinne gives the Predators their best chance to win their first Stanley Cup.

Though Juuse Saros is clearly the next goalie to take over the Nashville net, it would be unreasonable for Saros to step into that role and immediately turn out championship level play. He is very, very good. But he’s not Pekka Rinne.

Maybe one day. But not yet.

Rinne just won his 315th NHL game. He finally won his first Vezina Trophy last year, and is now a four-time finalist for that award. And he’s the franchise leader in just about every possible goaltending category.

He’s also been the backbone of every major forward step in Predators’ franchise history. From winning the first playoff series in 2011, to winning the first Game 7 in 2016, to reaching and winning the Western Conference Final in 2017, to winning the first ever Presidents’ Trophy in 2018.

He has been the main reason for the Predators’ meteoric rise over the last few seasons and there’s no reason to think he won’t be the reason for them finally winning a Cup.

Sure, age is an issue. But does it look to anyone like he’s slowing down? He’s won four of his first six starts this year and has a .940 save percentage to go with it. His current goals allowed average (1.91) is a career low.

With Rinne locked in for another two years beyond this year, the Predators also extended their Stanley Cup championship chances.

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —

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