Nashville Predators: Roman Josi Looms as Top Offseason Priority

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 25: Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates against the New Jersey Devils during the game at Prudential Center on October 25, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 25: Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates against the New Jersey Devils during the game at Prudential Center on October 25, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The work isn’t done for the Nashville Predators this offseason with the top priority becoming a new contract for their captain.

Let me start this all off by saying I’ll be extremely upset if the Nashville Predators somehow can’t come to an agreement with Roman Josi. If he goes elsewhere, I’ll be much more upset than I ever was with P.K. Subban leaving earlier this offseason. Fortunately, I don’t see that conceivably happening.

The Predators made their big splash this offseason and came through on their quest for Matt Duchene. Now that we can mark that important item off the offseason checklist, we have to focus on keeping things in order with the players who have been a critical part of this team’s foundation for several years. Josi fits into that perfectly, but GM David Poile has some work to do.

Josi is the quiet leader that doesn’t have to steal the television spotlight necessarily. He certainly does that with his speed on the ice and ability to make defenders look silly all by himself. However, he’s never been the boisterous player that craves attention. He just simply shows up consistently and does his job. He’s been the captain of the Predators since Mike Fisher retired and has carried himself with the utmost class for the organization. Now the priority has to be to make sure he stays in Nashville for the distant future.

Josi’s track record

Here’s what we know about Josi and what he’s provided for the Predators in his eight seasons at the NHL level. When he came onto the NHL scene during the 2011-12 season, the Predators had never really had a defenseman who could bring offensive firepower like Josi can. Since then he’s arrived onto the doorstep of 100 career goals, sitting at 93 currently. He’s also shown time and time again the ability to flip the ice and create quick scoring chances. His stick handling can’t ever be overlooked, nor can his skating ability.

Josi now has five-straight All-Star appearances under his belt and has received votes for the Norris Trophy in all five of those years as well. It’s not at all far-fetched that he’ll get a Norris Trophy before the end of his career. He’s still in his prime and coming off of another excellent offensive year. Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet highlighted Josi as being one of the top offensive defenseman in the NHL and dove deep into his offensive numbers.

It’s an excellent piece from Berkshire that shows how involved Josi is in the Predators’ offense through creating high-danger chances, piling up the zone entries and getting his teammates around him scoring opportunities. He doesn’t always do that by scoring goals, but he’s always pushing the pace and getting the Nashville Predators into the opponent’s zone. It would be extremely gut-wrenching to see the Predators lose a weapon like that anytime soon.

Finally, Josi has been as big of a class act and highly-respected representative for the Predators organization for years now. He’s a household name and many teams are envious to not have him. He’s a vital piece to why the Predators got over the hump a few years ago and become one of the top organizations that they are now.

How this deal should get done

Josi isn’t going to come cheap, and rightfully so. He’s earned it over the last eight seasons and now Poile has to reward him. If not, a host of other teams are salivating to pay Josi the money he deserves. The Nashville Predators can’t have that happen, and Poile definitely won’t let that happen. However, you can have a sensible argument on if the Predators might end up slightly overpaying for him, or how the length of the prospective contract should look.

Contract negotiations with Josi have hopefully already begun based off this tweet from the Predators a couple months ago:

There’s plenty of Norris-worthy years left for Josi. Nothing would be more painful than seeing him claim his first Norris Trophy in another team’s uniform, or dare I say a Stanley Cup. For me, he’s a Predator for life and the best may still be yet to come. With that said, there’s no doubt Josi is in line for a contract well north of $8 million per year. He’s absolutely worth every penny of that. This is why parting ways with Subban and getting Matt Duchene for a very team-friendly deal is so critical in all of this. It leaves more room to pay Josi the money he absolutely deserves, and makes Subban’s departure completely logical.

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I expect Josi’s deal to be done in the next week or so. The more time that goes by without a contract extension, the more my heart rate is going to rise and my paranoia will set in. I love where this  Nashville Predators roster sits going into next season after the Duchene signing and the defense still being top-five worthy in the league. Now Poile just needs to get this deal done so we can set our sights on making another solid run at the Stanley Cup. We can’t do that without our Captain being taken care of. Get that man his money.