Preds Goaltender Symbolize "The Nashville Way"

Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 10:01 AM / Training Camp Central
By Bryan Mullen
It’s no secret; Nashville Predators goaltenders Pekka Rinne (6 foot 5) and Anders Lindback (6 foot 6) make up the tallest goalie tandem in NHL history.

But here’s something not as well known: Nashville is one of only three NHL teams whose No. 1 and No. 2 goaltenders are playing for the clubs that drafted them. The others are Los Angeles and Buffalo. Take it one step further: all five of Nashville’s goaltenders playing in North America were drafted by the Predators. No other NHL team can make that claim about their goalies.

That build-through-the-system approach proved highly successful in 2010-11 when Rinne was a Vezina Trophy finalist and Lindback established himself as a reliable backup.

“Our scouting analysis is always, ‘We want guys that have character and a sense for the game,’ ” Nashville Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton said. “It’s the same thing with a goaltender. You look at Pekka, who is so elite with his sense of everything that is happening around the ice. And Lindy does the same thing right now. We’re working with the other three to get to that point. We’re seen it in them before at lower levels.”

For the players, being in one organization from the start is a massive advantage, partly because they are able to work with the same goaltending coaches. Mitch Korn is the Predators goalie coach, and Ben Vanderklok serves as Korn’s assistant, working with goaltenders in Milwaukee (AHL) and Cincinnati (ECHL).

Tale of the Tape
Pekka Rinne, 28, 2004 NHL Entry Draft (8th round, Nashville), 6-foot-5

Anders Lindback, 23, 2008 NHL Entry Draft (7th round, Nashville), 6-foot-6

Jeremy Smith, 22, 2007 NHL Entry Draft (2nd round, Nashville), 6-foot

Chet Pickard, 21, 2008 NHL Entry Draft (1st round, Nashville), 6-foot-2

Atte Engren, 23, 2007 NHL Entry Draft (7th round, Nashville), 6-foot-1
“Being in the same organization for my first six years, it’s a luxury,” Rinne, 28, said. “When I came over, I was treated so well. I felt right at home. I was nervous coming over and everything was new. It took a while to adjust, but they’ve been so good to me. Being a goalie, you have to feel comfortable and have that support behind you, not only from teammates, but from the coaches and management, too. I learned so much from my first three years in Milwaukee. Looking back now, that was a key time for me.”

Lindback, 23, obviously has spent less time in the organization, but being drafted by Nashville and being able to learn the system from the start has paid off.

“It helps coming over here for the development camps and recognizing all the staff members,” Lindback said. “You get to start learning everything early on. It doesn’t take one day to learn the system. It takes a while, and being in one organization from the start helps you, especially with the small things. Mitch and I began working on small details for a couple of years and they’re in my game now.”

Fenton admits there is some luck involved, but in order for a prospect to make the progressions Rinne and Lindback have made, the scouts must do their due diligence.

“Our scouts have done a great job to find the type of goalies that we want, character guys, size guys, athletic guys,” Fenton said. “And then we bring them into our system and both Mitch and Ben have done a really good job of taking their positives and enhancing them even more. That’s probably the thing that works the best. We all mesh together and communicate well. What I like is our goaltending coaches don’t try to change our guys. They work with them for the style that they have.”

One of the advantages Korn sees is the tunnel-like approach the goaltenders are allowed to have. Instead of having to learn new faces, tendencies and personalities, they can focus on improving.

“Everybody in any profession is resistant to change,” Korn said. “One of the good things we’ve had here is there hasn’t been a great deal of change. Those (goalies) report to a lot of different people. Obviously I’m in the loop, but Barry Trotz is the guy they really report to, and David Poile is someone who deals with them and their agents. Because of that consistency, everyone knows what to expect. As a result, they’re very comfortable.”

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

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2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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