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Rinne Named World Championship MVP; Jones the Best Defenseman as Five Preds Medal

Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 5:32 PM CT / News
By Kevin Wilson  - Nashville Predators
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Rinne Named World Championship MVP; Jones the Best Defenseman as Five Preds Medal

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Championship after an impressive tournament that saw him carry Finland to a silver medal on Sunday in Minsk, Belarus. Predators defenseman Seth Jones was named Best Defenseman in his World Championship debut after leading all blueliners and tying for fifth among all skaters in points (2g-9a-11pts).

Both Rinne and Jones were also named to the Media All-Star Team and one of the three best players on their respective teams, accolades also picked up by Preds defensemen Mattias Ekholm (Sweden) and Roman Josi (Switzerland), and forward Craig Smith (United States).

Though Rinne and the Finns fell in the Gold Medal Game to Russia by a 5-2 score, the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist finished the tournament with a 6-3 record, 1.88 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and three shutouts. Though many prognosticators overlooked Team Suomi due to a lack of NHL talent, Rinne, as well as Predators prospects Miikka Salmaki and Juuse Saros helped the nation advance to its second World Championship Final in the past four years. Salomaki recorded a pair of points (1g-1a), 18 penalty minutes and a +3 rating in 10 games after leading Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, in points during the 2013-14 season. Saros did not see action as Finland’s third goalie, but was one of the five youngest players participating in the tournament.

Also bringing home medals were Ekholm and Calle Jarnkrok thanks to a 3-0 win by the Swedes over the Czech Republic in the Bronze Medal Game. Ekholm collected an assist and posted a +1 rating in 24:00 of ice time in the victory to finish tied with Josi for second in points among tournament defensemen (2g-5a-7pts). Jarnkrok posted a +3 rating in 10 tournament games.

Though Team USA bowed out in the quarterfinals, Jones led the nation in points as well as tying for fifth among all skaters in plus/minus rating (+8) and among the leaders in average ice time (25:38). This is Smith’s third time in the last four years being named one of the U.S.’s best players at the World Championship; he finished fourth on the team in points (3g-5a-8pts) and tied for third in goals. In 29 career World Championship games since 2011, the 2009 fourth-round pick has 30 points (10g-20a).

After claiming World Championship MVP and Best Defenseman honors a year ago, Josi tied for third among blueliners in points (1g-6a-7pts) in 2014 despite the Swiss not making it to the playoff round. He also led the Swiss in points, assists and average ice time (25:06), nearly four minutes more than his next closest teammate.

Also participating in the tournament were Ryan Ellis, who led all Team Canada defensemen in points (1g-4a-5pts) and tied for fifth in the tournament in plus/minus rating (+8), and Simon Moser (Switzerland), who notched a pair of assists in seven games.

Representing the Nashville Predators on the United States’ coaching staff were Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Assistant Coach Phil Housley and Video Coach Lawrence Feloney brining the organization’s delegation up to 13 at tournament.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 51 25 19 7 113 121 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36