Last night Pekka Rinne backstopped the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals, stopping 39 of 40 shots along the way (including multiple highlight-reel-worthy saves).

He’s also going to win the Vezina Trophy this year.

Rinne is one of those goalies (like Henrik Ludqvist) who might eat up a whopping 70 starts for his team. That in itself is a huge indicator of a goalie’s importance to his club, and speaks volumes about how consistent the guy is.

His 16 starts are only one back of the NHL lead, and over those games, he’s recorded three shutouts (tied for 1st in the league).

His goals against average currently sits at 2.19 which has him in 12th, but that includes being behind a handful of backups who’ve played between 6-9 games. His save percentage sits at .933%, which has him tied for sixth….. behind Josh Harding (in first!), Brian Elliot, Nikolai Khabibulin, Jonas Enroth, and Jimmy Howard.

I like his odds of battling through that group.

But the stats aren’t the only reason I think he’ll pull it out – he also gets to put his sound, talented style behind Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and a well-coached Barry Trotz hockey team every night.

Last year he was a finalist for the trophy before losing to Tim Thomas and The Best Season Ever. As I see it this year, his two major threats are Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick (sorry Khabibulin, not buying it over the long haul), but I don’t see either of those teams (Rangers and Kings) playing as well defensively as Nashville over 82 games.

But regardless of that, he’d still be my #1 pick if I were starting a team today. He’s too big, too good, and in too perfect of a situation to lose out on this award again.

Mark me down – Rinne for the Vezina.