The best candidate to back-up Rinne? The retired Kevin Weekes…

He’s a commentator for Hockey Night in Canada, he’s a studio analyst for NHL Network and he’s the best candidate to back-up Pekka Rinne this coming season.

Kevin Weekes has been behind the desk for one year but spent 11 seasons behind the mask in cities like Miami, Vancouver, New York City and East Rutherford. He should add Nashville to that list as the Predators are in need of a veteran back-up goalie and Weekes fits the bill perfectly.

Thanks to Preds On The Glass floating the idea on Twitter last week, we here at section303.com find ourselves on board with courting Weekes to Music City.

To ask a retired 35 year old former goalie to return to game shape and become a starter would be asking quite a bit. But, as in this case, asking him to be a back-up to a goaltender like Rinne who thrives on a heavy workload, isn’t out of the question. Weekes is tremendous in the community, he’s a regular contributor to several charities and his veteran presence could prove useful between the pipes if Rinne were to go down with an injury for any length of time.

Kevin Weekes backstopping the New Jersey Devils in 2009.

You don’t want to trust a two week stretch (or *gasp* maybe longer) of the season with a goalie who has yet to play a single minute in the NHL do you?

Weekes would clearly understand (and expect) the number two role. He wouldn’t be one of these current back-ups who are still “just looking for an opportunity” to become a starter. Furthermore, he’s backed up another guy who loved a heavy workload when he was slotted behind the best goaltender of all-time in Martin Brodeur. He could be a mentor to Rinne who, despite his starting gig, is still only 27 years old and has never had a veteran of Weekes’ caliber encouraging him and guiding him while not trying to take his job.

Furthermore, financially he wouldn’t cost much. His price tag would certainly be less than $1 million and, compared to some of the other veteran goalies that are still on the market, that’s a bargain. Take former Washington Capitals goalie José Théodore for example. Not only would he love to be a starter somewhere but he’s sure to command at least $2 million for his services. He made $4.5 million in each of the last two seasons and he was a 30 game winner in each. He’s a two time NHL All-Star, a former Vezina Trophy winner, a former Hart Trophy winner and, if he were to be a starter, is two seasons away from winning 300 games in his career. The guy’s got a resume and his salary demands will reflect that. Weekes, on the other hand, can provide the same veteran presence and the same reliable goaltending for much cheaper and without ulterior motives.

Additionally, there’d be a mutual expectation of a one-year deal. The general consensus is that the goalies in the system are roughly a year away from being ready for back-up work. The best of the four could support Rinne this season but it would be a huge gamble as what would happen if Rinne faltered? What would happen if he tore his ACL and was lost for the season? Nashville would immediately go looking for a goalie to weather the storm but, until a deal could be made (and a deal they would be forced to overpay in) Pred Nation is literally in the pads of a rookie netminder with only one year of professional hockey under his belt.

Could that guy be the next Cam Ward or Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy? Guys that came out of nowhere in their rookie years to lead their clubs to the Stanley Cup? Sure they could. But they could also be the next Kirk McLean or Peter Ing or Vincent Riendeau. And while McLean went onto play in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, his 11-27-3 record in his rookie year of 1987-88 (not to mention his putrid .875 save percentage) left fans in Vancouver wondering why he was there in the first place.

In this scenario, Weekes would come into the season knowing this would be his last tour in the NHL and the Predators would know that they were buying time for the younger guys (Chet Pickard, Jeremy Smith, Anders Lindback, Mark Dekanich, etc.) to be ready in 2011-12.

Look, we know it’s a bit of a fantasy idea. But, if you really think about it, the fantasy kind of makes sense.

SPECIAL THANKS: Rachel Addison designed our “Weekes for back-up” campaign button.

INLAY PHOTO CREDIT: Bruce Bennett // Getty Images

10 Comments

  1. Big Kev

    July 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Maybe you could get a petition going we could e-sign to be submitted to Poile.

  2. Buddy Oakes

    July 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I actually was serious. From a PR standpoint there is a huge additional benefit that was not stated. Much of the negative press out of Canada would be muted if the well respected Weekes came and put a face on the Nashville franchise that many in the Canadian press corps like to dismiss except for the occasional cheap shot or relocation story. With Dan Ellis gone, who would be better to do the update from the bench than a CBC insider. Beat reporters from the other 29 NHL cities would all be doing at least one story during the year on Kevin’s comeback and being the pro that he is would be the perfect ambassador for the Predators to the rest of the hockey world. So from a business/marketing point of view there would be benefits that would go beyond his play on the ice. So yes, I was serious.

    • Jeremy K. Gover

      July 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Buddy, I’ve edited the blog re: you joking. Secondly, I can’t believe I forgot to mention the broadcasting aspect of it. When I was thinking about writing this, that was one of the most obvious things I wanted to mention. Goes to show I should maybe write stuff down, eh? Thanks again!

  3. Patten Fuqua

    July 13, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    35 years old
    Career GAA of almost 3.
    Career save percentage of .900.
    Hasn’t played in a year and a half.
    Hasn’t played more than 11 complete games in a season in almost 5 years.

    I’d rather take my chances on a rookie.

  4. lethargic

    July 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Weekes ALWAYS sucked, even in his prime he was terrible. We wanna go pull a goalie out of retirement who only had one winning record in his entire career at 7-5 backing up Brodeur? The guy is 98-158 for his career. Even if he only cost two envelopes and a jawbreaker, why would we want him? I would take Brian Finley over Kevin Weekes.

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  8. Brandon

    July 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Hey guys, when you listed Weekes, teams, you forgot that Shady 80 (his nickname) got the Cup Finals as a member of the Hurricanes in 2002. If you look at the playoff rin in 2002, Irbe and Weekes were unbelievable. In the EC Finals against Toronto, the Canes gave up 6 goals in 6 games (primarily Irbe), but weeks did a number against both New Jersey and Montreal for a few games.

    However, you want the 2002 vintage Weekes – not what you have seen the last few years.

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