There’s a reason why Roman Josi is the captain of the Nashville Predators. He leads by example, in everything the does. Just look at the season he had this year.
Despite all of the distractions and the shortened season, this has been Josi’s best year ever.
The 2020 Norris Trophy winner should absolutely be Josi if we’re looking at the full body of work and all-around game.
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In what has been a tumultuous season, Josi has remained consistent and even spectacular at times. Every category on the stat sheet has gone up from the previous year.
Josi scored 16 goals this season. That’s a career-high and puts him in fifth for goals on the team.
Had the season continued, this offensive-minded defenseman would have no doubt added to that total.
Josi has career-high numbers in assists and points as well. He leads the team in these categories with 49 assists and 65 points.
All while putting in heavy ice time . Josi led the team with an average time on ice of 25:47.
Once again, these numbers are for a shortened season.
It’s Not All About The Stats
Josi has been the captain since the 2017-2018 season. His leadership and tenacity have been at the forefront this year.
With the issues that the team has had, Josi has done an excellent job of motivating the Predators and taking over when needed to help propel them forward.
One of the challenges Josi faced this season was some unforeseen time away from his linemate, Ryan Ellis. We all know what happened to Ellis, so there’s no reason to bring that up.
The injury to Ellis caused a defensive line shift that saw the pairing of Josi and Yannick Weber the majority of the time.
The line shift continued down the line to the other defensemen. The results were horrendous at times.
Losing Ellis for that stretch was tough, but Josi stepped up and elevated his intensity during that period and kept the ship afloat.
Needless to say, Josi was pleased when Ellis returned.
Josi is easily one of the top three-defenders in the league, if not the top one. He kept the Predators in the running for the playoffs all year despite all of the adversity they faced.
Had the Predators not had Josi, they would be on the outside looking in on the 24-team playoff format. He made that much of an impact on this team.
Josi For Norris
There have been countless articles and posts deeming one defenseman over the other as the winner of the Norris Trophy.
The way I understand it, the Norris Trophy is awarded to the defenseman who has the most impact on their team. That has to unequivocally be Roman Josi.
"The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”"
The keywords in this statement are “all-around ability.” To me, that means more than just the statistics. That translates to how has the defensive player impacted their team no matter the circumstances.
The other top candidate for Norris consideration is Washington Capitals defenseman, John Carlson.
While Carlson does lead Josi in assists and points, you have to ask if his impact on his team is comparable to Josi’s impact on the Predators.
In other words, how many games did Carlson put the Capitals on his back and lead them to victory this season?
Also, let’s be honest. Did Josi have an “Alex Ovechkin” type player to feed the puck to this season? Not even close.
Josi deserves the Norris Trophy for overcoming the adversities that his team has faced this season, leading them through those adversities, and guiding them to the playoffs.
Josi For Hart
There have also been conversations about nominating Josi for the Hart Memorial Trophy.
The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player deemed most valuable to his team. Josi should be in consideration for this trophy as well.
The next closest superstar Predator to Josi is Filip Forsberg, but he is 22 assists and 17 points shy.
This brings us to the same question we have to ask about the Norris Trophy. Is it all about stats? Once again, I have to say no.
Statistics are important, but when you say “most valuable to his team,” the meaning takes on much more.
How would a team look if they did not have the nominated player on their roster?
Josi’s value to the Predators is immeasurable. Like I stated above, this team would be in a much different position without Josi and wouldn’t even be in the playoff conversation.
A case could be made for giving Josi the Hart Memorial Trophy. But obviously that’s a big leap from Norris to Hart.
Josi will be an unrestricted free agent in 2028. That should put him around retirement age. He should retire a Predator and will undoubtedly set and break some records during the rest of his time with the team.
The bar is set high for the rest of his career. If he continues to have years like this season, we will undoubtedly see a retired number banner with a huge “59” on it hanging from the rafters of Bridgestone Arena.
If a Norris Trophy is sadly not awarded to Josi this season, he undoubtedly has one in his near future.