It was a season full of disappointments for the Nashville Predators, but Captain Roman Josi was one of the few bright spots that kept the team battling.
As the NHL is getting ready to wrap things up in the Edmonton bubble with a Stanley Cup champion, the NHL Awards wrapped up with the Captain of the Nashville Predators taking home some coveted hardware.
Roman Josi wins the Norris Trophy for the first time in his career over finalists Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and John Carlson of the Washington Capitals.
This was always expected to be a close race between Josi and Carlson, and many thought the slight edge would go to Carlson as he plays for the flashier team and had more points.
In pretty dominant and surprising fashion, Josi took over 100 first-place votes, which nearly doubles the second-place finisher in Carlson. The voters were overwhelmingly in favor of Josi, which is refreshing considering they looked at more than just point totals:
The closest Josi had ever come to the Norris Trophy previously was a pair of fifth-place finishes in voting in 2015 and 2016.
A dominant year for the Captain
Josi had his most productive season offensively of his NHL career this past season by posting nearly a point per game average with 65 points in 69 games. He confirmed his wide reputation of being one of most offensively-gifted defenseman in the NHL.
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Josi also continued his big impact on the Predators power play by tallying 19 assists with the man advantage and adding four goals.
It’s not just scoring points where Josi excelled. He impacts the game unlike any other defenseman by how he dictates the pace of the game and puts pressure on opposing defenders. He creates havoc with his skating ability and often creates offensive chances for his teammates.
Without Josi on the Predators this past season this team would’ve likely missed the playoffs. He’s vital to this team’s success going forward unlike any other defenseman in the NHL by how he impacts every facet of the game. He averaged nearly 26 minutes of ice time per game.
The biggest reason that Josi deserves this award was that he does it all. He’s the polar opposite of being one-dimensional, and he appears to keep getting better each and every season.
Like the class act that Josi always has been, he thanked his teammates, trainers, coaches, front office and fans for the support while speaking on the NHL Awards broadcast on NBCSN:
"“This award belongs to you guys as much as it belongs to me”."
Josi also called it a “first-class organization” and was very thankful for all of the support from the front office and fans over the years.
Now the Predators have to solidify their defense behind Josi and Ryan Ellis as it’s become thin on the back end. Josi and Ellis continue to be a dominant one-two punch, but it takes more than just two dominant defenders to win Stanley Cups.
In a season full of ups and downs, the Nashville Predators get a breathe of fresh air with the Norris Trophy going to their Captain. Josi should have more league awards in his future, including another Norris Trophy as his career trajectory is skyrocketing.