Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has agreed to join Dynamo Minsk as the lockout drags on, the KHL team announced on its website Wednesday.
The Belarusians have been in search of a top NHL goalie since Niklas Backstrom's move from the Minnesota Wild was aborted after he got injured.
“Our task was to acquire a goaltender who would be completely ready to play from the first home game and was available for the coaching staff,” the team’s sports director Igor Matushkin said.
Matushkin lavished high praise on the 29 year old, who was nominated for the Vezina trophy awarded to the best NHL’s goaltender for the last two seasons.
“Pekka, who is also a student of our goalie coach Ari Hilly, has been playing in the NHL for a long time and is rightfully considered one of the best players of his position.”
Matushkin insisted money was not the motive for Rinne's move.
“I want to stress Pekka’s desire to play in Dynamo Minsk. Rinne will play for almost nothing. Almost all of his salary will go to the payment of his insurance.”
Rinne is expected to arrive in the Belarusian capital on Friday after he receives his visa.
He has spent six seasons in the Nashville’s first team making 278 appearances since his move to North America in 2005.
Dynamo Minsk is currently 10th in the Western Conference and has the leakiest defense in the KHL after conceding 33 goals in 10 games.