The Nashville Predators 2013-14 season is a little over a month old. In Part II of the Month in Review, we take a look at how the defensemen have fared. You can go back and check out Part I of the series here.
Biggest Surprise — Seth Jones
The Predators first round draft pick might be in the running for surprise of the NHL. Seth Jones was touted as the most NHL-ready of the top picks but I don’t think anyone thought he was this ready. Jones has been playing on the top pair with Shea Weber for most of the season. He has been averaging 24:40 of ice time and contributed with 2 goals and 5 assists. Jones is 2nd on the team in ice time to Weber, which is also good for 17th in the league and 1st among rookies. While the amount is impressive on its own, the quality of competition Jones has been up against speaks volumes. Playing predominantly on the first pair, Jones is playing these minutes against opponent’s top lines and in pressure situations late in games. While Jones has made his expected share of rookie mistakes, the amount of positive contribution at this point in the season is a pleasant surprise.
Biggest Disappointment — Roman Josi
It is a little unfair to put Roman Josi in this category, and it should probably be more of an incomplete than anything else. Josi got hurt early in the season and has yet to find his rhythm. He has only played in 7 of the Preds 17 games to this point but is a minus 7 with only one assist. Josi is still being given quality power play minutes and needs to start producing if the Preds are going to have any chance of success this season. Josi was expected to big part of the Preds long-term plans after signing that big contract and needs to pick it up to meet those expectations. It will be interesting to see if Josi finds his way back to the top pairing or if Jones has locked that role up for good.
- Ryan Ellis is the current leader in the plus-minus category for defensemen with an even rating. That is not a good thing.
- Mattias Ekholm has played in all 17 games, averaging 18:33 a night, and has yet to take a penalty. That is great discipline and confidence from the rookie defender.
- Kevin Klein has zero points through 17 games and leads in the dubious category of most shots (22) without a goal.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part III in this series where we talk about the Goaltenders.