There’s really no disputing who the most consistent and most valuable player on the Nashville Predators. It was the Captain, Roman Josi.
Not only did Josi clearly prove that he’s the most valuable player on the Nashville Predators by far, but he’s also one of the top two or three defenseman in the NHL.
Many would argue that he is indeed the best, and that once they announce their league awards, Josi will win his first Norris Trophy.
Josi averaged nearly a point per game this season. He played in every single game and rarely let up despite the team as a whole going through plenty of rough patches during the season.
Josi elevated his game
The 65 points will be a new career high for Josi even if the season isn’t completed. With 13 games remaining, he’d have a very good chance at finishing around 75 points, which would be just ten short of Paul Kariya‘s franchise record.
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Josi would perhaps even finish second on the franchise list for single season points by passing Kariya in second place with 76 points. It’s a shame that Josi may not get a chance to reach that feat, and most certainly finish in third.
Josi also set career highs in goals (16), assists (49), power play assists (19) and Corsi for percentage (53.2). And this is all with a shortened season of 13 games and assuming we don’t finish it out.
As much heat that the Predators defense should take for the lackluster season it had, that blame can’t be put on Josi. On most occasions he was the only one keeping the team from completely folding.
There were others who stepped up their game and played consistent as well, like Nick Bonino and Rocco Grimaldi. But for the most part, the team didn’t meet expectations, and Josi had to elevate his game to a whole new level to keep the Predators in the playoff race.
He lived up to the Captain title
As the team captain Josi also kept his composure and acted like a leader on the ice that you need when rough times hit. He never sugarcoated anything, and was often visibly frustrated when the team wasn’t bringing the energy or aggression that it needed to win games.
Without Josi on this team, the Predators would’ve been a last-place team. There’s no doubt in my mind.
Sometimes Josi gets criticized for not playing enough defense, and being more of an offensive-minded skater that takes others out of the play. That may be true at times, but many times it’s necessary for him to take over games because the rest of the team just simply isn’t bringing the intensity that’s needed.
It also didn’t help matters at all when Ryan Ellis was lost for a lengthy amount of time. Josi had even more pressure to keep his game at an elite level. He stepped up after signing a big new contract and didn’t disappoint.
I absolutely believe that Josi deserves the Norris Trophy as the league’s most valuable defenseman. Washington’s John Carlson is the only other player who can be in the argument, and he doesn’t do nearly as many positive things on the ice as Josi does.
It’s not just about points, which Carlson has more of thanks to his high assist numbers, but more about what kind of impact you bring to your team.
Josi’s impact on the Predators is on a way bigger level than what Carlson does for the Capitals.
Josi also brought a new edge to his game that I haven’t always seen from him. Some people may not like it, but when Josi cross-checked Corey Perry back in March as some payback for the Ellis injury in the Winter Classic, I absolutely applauded it.
Critics of the hit said it was dirty and could’ve injured Perry. If you really watch the hit, it wasn’t aimed at injuring Perry. It was simply a message from the Captain that you’re not going to push his teammates around, and especially when it’s a cheap hit like the one Perry delivered.
ROMAN JOSID, Nashville Predators
The only reason Josi doesn’t get an “A+” is that sometimes he compromises the offensive flow of the team by trying to do too much. It’s really nitpicking, but can’t be left out.
With that said, the best is still yet to come from Josi. He has plenty more Norris Trophy nominations in his near future, and justified his new contract extension that was signed at the beginning of the season.
Sometimes when professional athletes sign shiny new contracts they let off the gas and regress a bit. Josi intensified his game and had the best season of what was already a great career.
Josi gets a perfect grade from me. Does it mean he’s always perfect? No, I can’t say he’s always perfect. But he played as close to perfect as you can ask a player to play, and he elevated his game at such a critical juncture that kept the Predators in the playoff picture.