July 13 (UPI) -- Nashville Predators star goaltender Pekka Rinne announced his retirement from the NHL on Tuesday after 15 seasons in the league.
The 38-year-old Rinne spent his entire career with the Predators and finished atop nearly every franchise goaltending category. He is Nashville's regular-season leader in games (683), starts (667), wins (369), shutouts (60), goals-against average (2.43) and saves (17,627).
"For more than 15 years, I've been on an incredible, life-changing journey with the Nashville Predators that has taken me to more places than I could have ever imagined and given me more than I could ever hope to give back," Rinne said in a statement. "This decision wasn't easy, but I know this is the right one at the right time."
During a news conference Tuesday, Rinne said his options were between retirement or continuing his career with the Predators. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after his two-year, $10 million bridge deal expired.
"There were two options," Rinne said. "Either retire or ... continue playing with the Predators. And I appreciate [general manager] David [Poile] and everybody else for giving me enough time to make this decision on my own and make a decision that I feel is the right one. And deep down I do feel that."
In an essay published to The Players Tribune, Rinne said family also played a role in his decision to retire.
Rinne, a native of Kempele, Finland, won the 2018 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie. Earlier this year, he was the recipient of the King Clancy Trophy, which is given annually to the "player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."
"For years, Pekka has been the face of our franchise on and off the ice," Poile said in a news release. "The role he played in making the Predators organization into something so much more than just a hockey team cannot be understated, and what he means to our team and community makes him one of the most special players and people you'll ever meet.
"It's cliché of what you would want from your best players, but Pekka gave us a chance to win in every single game he played and led our team during the most competitive era of our franchise."
Fellow Finnish netminder Juuse Saros has long been considered as Rinne's successor at the position, and he became the Predators' primary goalie last season. The 26-year-old Saros is a restricted free agent.
The Predators selected Rinne in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Draft. He made his professional debut in 2005 and became the franchise's regular starter in net during the 2008-09 campaign.
Rinne ended his career with a 369-213-75 record. He also guided the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.