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Rinne signs long-term contract

Rinne signs long-term contract
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stops a point blank shot by St. Louis Blues center Chris Ponter in the first period at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Dec. 26, 2010 UPI/Rob Cornforth | License Photo

NASHVILLE, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The Nashville Predators said Thursday they had signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year contract worth $49 million, the richest deal in team history.

Rinne finished second in last year's balloting for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the league's top goaltender. He led the Predators to their first playoff series victory and finished the season with a 33-22-9 record with six shutouts.

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He would have become an unrestricted free agent next July. The signing came on Rinne's 29th birthday.

"Today's signing is further evidence of our ownership's commitment to keeping our core intact," Nashville General Manager David Poile said.

"This is the first step of a process designed to retain our key players and leaders. Pekka has grown with our franchise, just recently established our franchise record for career shutouts and is now recognized as one of the game's elite players. We're thrilled to know that he will be backstopping our franchise for several years to come."

Rinne was an eighth-round pick in the 2004 draft.

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