Nashville Predators: At Long Last, Roman Josi is a Norris Trophy Finalist

Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

It always seemed inevitable that Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators would eventually be recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist.

Roman Josi and the Nashville Predators are on a quest to capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, but another piece of impressive hardware has also never been claimed by the franchise.

The Norris Trophy finalists have officially been announced, and it’s Josi’s first time in his nine-year career to get the honor:

Josi joins some impressive company with John Carlson of the Washington Capitals and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Hedman won the Norris Trophy for the 2017-18 season, while Josi and Carlson have never won it.

It’s going to be a close vote between the three, but if you dive deep into the numbers, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make the right choice.

Making the case for Josi

Carlson has more points, but aside from that there really isn’t an argument to make on which player does more for their respective team. Josi is the engine of the Nashville Predators in every facet of the game.

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There’s numerous times when Josi takes over the game for the Predators, which is so incredibly difficult to do in hockey.

You have to be enormously skilled and special to do the things Josi does on the ice in solo fashion.

On the other side, Carlson plays on a team full of elite offensive players. He’s a great offensive defenseman in his own right, but he isn’t nearly as valuable to his team as Josi is to the Predators.

Josi controls the flow of the game on an elite level. Without him, the Predators would be non-playoff team floundering at the bottom of the division. Both Washington and Tampa Bay would be downgraded some by losing their respective finalists, but they’d still be very good teams.

The biggest stat from Josi that sticks out and backs up the assertion of winning the Norris Trophy is his puck possession metrics. He controls the puck like a point guard brings the ball down in basketball.

Brooks Bratten of the Nashville Predators official website laid out tons of stats and metrics that you simply can’t ignore, with the main one being how he transitions the puck from the defensive zone to the offensive zone.

No other defenseman comes close to doing what Josi does in this important area, and you’ve seen it regularly if you watch the Predators play and don’t just look at box scores every night.

Josi has finished fifth in the Norris Trophy voting twice in his career, coming in 2015 and 2016. In 2015 he came up just behind his teammate Shea Weber and actually received a first-place vote.

If a full 82-game season had been played, then it’s conceivable to think Josi would’ve easily crushed the 70-point mark and get very close to Paul Kariya’s franchise record for points in a season with 85.

More franchise records are in Josi’s future, as well as being a Norris Trophy finalist again. It’s only a matter of “when” and not “if” Josi will ever when a Norris Trophy.

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We’ll have to wait until  just before the Stanley Cup Final to found out who the winner will be, but I expect it be a very close vote between Carlson and Josi.