Mar 24, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) attempts a slap shot during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
First Pairing- A+
Roman Josi and Shea Weber are the best first pairing in the NHL, bar none. Josi has improved to the point that he is arguably Weber’s equal. They do everything well, score, move the puck, play defense, power play, kill penalties, you name it. And they average a little over 24 minutes a game. It is unbelievable that the Predators could lose a player like Ryan Suter and replace him from within with a player like Josi. There are teams that have been looking for a first line defenseman for years and years and the Predators have several that qualify. We could write an entire article just about these two but that’s for another day.
Second and Third Pairings – A-
They are kind of 2 and 2A anyway. Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm or Seth Jones and Barret Jackman. Both pairings have been wonderful this season. Ellis, Jones, and Ekholm all have at least nine points on the year. Jackman has been blocking shots, providing toughness and hits as well as stay at home defense that has been beautiful to behold. They are all part of the number one scoring defense in the entire NHL.
They are so good that there are questions that one of them may be moved for that true number one elite center that the Preds need so desperately. The best thing is that they have several serviceable defenseman that could step in and take the place of one of the others. Certainly not at the same level, but probably not to where it would cause a big hole. It may be what this team needs.
Next: The Backstops