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Why Pekka Rinne is not an elite goaltender

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

You would be hard-pressed to find any goaltending expert or NHL front office that ranks Pekka Rinne any lower than fifth best in the entire world. After all, the Nashville Predators netminder has been both a Vezina Trophy finalist and top eight in Hart Trophy voting three times in the past five seasons. During that span, his .921 save percentage and 2.31 goals against average rank sixth in the NHL, his 165 quality starts ranks fourth and he has the third-best quality start percentage, at 62.0 percent. That's why it comes as quite a shock that his deeper underlying numbers are less than outstanding.

It's not that Rinne is bad, just that he isn't an elite NHL goalie -- at least not from this particular statistical perspective. Other than occasional stretches of time, his overall save percentage isn't at the same level as the league's other top stars, and when it is adjusted for factors such as shot quality, that gap becomes even wider. Let's break those points down.