Predator’s Starting goalie Pekka Rinne is amongst the first Nashville Players to announce an overseas contract. A tweet by Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko)states that Rinne has reached a mutual agreement with the KHL team Minsk Dinamo. This is just shortly after speculation that Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild announced he was signing, however this was not official and probably turned down do to injuries to the goaltender.
Rinne played 73 games last year in the NHL, so it should be no surprise that he is already bored with the lack of NHL this season. Minsk Dinamo is currently coached by Kari Heikkia who was Rinne’s coach in Finland before he came to North America.
Backstrom also played under coach Kari Heikkia before coming over to the NHL. The Dinamo Minsk are still eligible to sign two additional NHL players to join them during the lockout and we’ll keep you updated if Rinne get’s any NHL teammates.
HC Dinamo Minsk play in the arena with the largest capacity in the KHL, 15000, which is about 2000 less than the Bridgestone. Last year the team finished 4th in their division before getting sweapt in the first round of the playoffs to UHC Dynamo. The current goaltender of the Minsk is Calgary Flames’ fading prospect Kevin Lalande.
It is unknown if Rinne will announce his running in EA’s KHL 2014 Cover competition.
Rinne is the first player to officially sign in the KHL and we will wait to see where more of our big names may land. The most obvious contenders are Sergei Kostitsyn, who is currently living in Russia, and Martin Erat, who has strong Europeean ties. The Jury is still out on Weber’s lockout plans. Josi and Hornqvist have already signed in Switzerland and Sweden (respectively)