We may not be happy with where the Nashville Predators currently sit in the standings, but let’s be grateful for how Roman Josi is keeping this team afloat.
I’m not going to say that it’s just one player keeping the Nashville Predators from really being in trouble. However, I am going to give a lot of credit to Roman Josi and how great he’s been through the team’s first 26 games.
It gets scary when you think about where the Predators may be if Josi wasn’t on this team. He ignites this offense nearly every game, and puts a lot of pressure on the opposition in transition. His defensive game continues to evolve as well, and his leadership on the ice can’t be overlooked.
The Predators as a whole are falling short of expectations. However, they have 56 games left to turn things around, and they’re just five points out of a top-three spot in the division. It’s no time to panic, but it is a time to be a little worried about how good they may or may not actually be.
Living up to the hype
Josi got his big contract extension and hasn’t missed a beat since then. In fact, he’s on pace to having one of the best seasons statistically of his career. That’s saying a lot considering he’s been a model of consistency since he broke into the lineup as a regular in 2013-14.
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Assuming Josi can keep up his current point pace, he’ll finish with around 70 points and set a new career-high in this category. I think he has a great chance to win his first Norris Trophy of his career as well.
Another key area where Josi is making a big impact is on the power play. He’s already up to 11 power play points after only managing 12 power play points all of last season. The Predators power play isn’t thriving necessarily, but it has shown improvement over last season. Josi is a big reason why it looks much better and has the capability of improving as the season progresses.
Josi drives the engine of this entire team. He pushes the action and finds ways to get himself or his linemates in the right position to get quick scoring chances. He also does it on his own on a regular basis by skating all around the ice forcing multiple defenders to chase him around, which usually frees another teammate up for a shot.
Who else can argue for team MVP?
Filip Forsberg is the obvious choice to argue over Josi. Forsberg’s offensive game continues to evolve into the one of the best in the NHL. His possession numbers are incredible with a Corsi-for percentage of over 60, and of course he’s still piling up the goals and getting plenty of shots on net.
As vital as Forsberg is to the Predators, he’s not above Josi in importance in my mind. It’s a tough choice to make, but if you make me choose, I’m going with Josi as the team MVP. He does more for the team as a whole that Forsberg does. Obviously the team would be hurt greatly to lose either one of them, but more so if Josi wasn’t in the lineup for a long period of time.
In a normal season perhaps we would throw Pekka Rinne or Juuse Saros into the conversation for team MVP. But neither one of them have been consistent between the pipes, although both have looked better as of late. Especially Saros over his last handful of starts. However, goaltending was a major sore spot that cause the rough going in November that saw the team going 4-7-1.
Josi is this team’s MVP that has kept them afloat. They may seem like they’re close to completely sinking, but for now they’re still a decent winning streak in December away from being right back in the thick of things near the top of the Central Division. They can’t have a repeat of November in December, because that will almost certainly bury them too far.
I’m really hoping, and kind of expecting, Josi to keep up this pace and get a hard look at the Norris Trophy. I echoed this going into the season. He’s just a player whose game has been growing and developing every season, and now you can consider him a superstar at his position.
Josi is the best player the Predators have, and he’s going to leave it all out there to propel the Predators back to being the team that they were in October, and not the team they were in November. If the Predators turn this thing back around, you can bet Josi will play a big part in it.