Nashville Predators: Is There Something Different About Roman Josi?

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Fresh off his first Norris Trophy winning season, Roman Josi remains one of the best two-way defenseman in the NHL. But his Nashville Predators find themselves once again in troubled territory.

Josi is one of those players that’s capable at any moment in the season to go on a massive hot streak and help carry the Predators to a winning streak. However, we haven’t seen that takeover just yet.

Through 11 games last season Josi was already up to 13 points as the Predators racked up seven wins and looked like one of the better teams in division once again. That changed eventually, but Josi remained a driving force on his way to the Norris Trophy.

Aside from the thrilling game-winning goal by Josi in overtime this season over the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s been a relatively quiet start for him. Has something changed in his game, or is it just a product of things just not bouncing his way?

Josi remains the offensive driver for Nashville Predators

Despite a somewhat slow start by Josi’s standards, he’s still been an impactful player for them. He’s got six points through 11 games, and leads the team in xGF, or expected goals for, while he’s on the ice at 5v5 even strength.

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Last season Josi also led the team in xGF while on the ice at 5v5, per NaturalStatTrick.

Josi’s Corsi level is equally impressive as always as it’s up at 57.4 at even strength, which is way above his career average.

I’m waiting on Josi to ramp up the aggression even more and start taking chances into the offensive zone. The Predators need a spark, and Josi is by far the best option to do that, along with Filip Forsberg.

After winning the Norris Trophy, the spotlight is easily on Josi to see if he can repeat that stellar performance again. He could very well do that, but he hasn’t been on that elite level of play so far.

Expectations are high for Josi

When the expectations are insanely high for a caliber of player like Josi, sometimes they regress back down to reality a bit.  We’re seeing a little bit of that through the first 11 games.

The Predators desperately need Josi to stay in his most aggressive mode offensively, because the team as a whole is having nightmares trying to generate high-quality offensive chances.

As much as you would love the top forwards on this team to do the heavy lifting on offense, Josi is one of the most gifted offensive players on the team and has to play that way if the Predators are going to turn things around.

There’s been criticism in the past that Josi occasionally tries to do too much and puts the rest of his teammates in a bad position to defend. At this point of dire straits for the Predators, they need offensive firepower from anywhere they can get it.

On the defensive side of things, the whole team is going through stretches of terrible play, most notably on the penalty kill. This glaring weakness has leaked over from last season, and might even be worse that 2019-20.

Josi is tied for second on the team with 16 blocked shots, only trailing his linemate Ryan Ellis. While he’s bee on the ice, the team has been shredded by high-quality teams like Tampa Bay and Dallas.

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If you want to include Josi in the issues the entire team is facing with defensive lapses against the top teams in the division, then that’s fair. But aside from that, he’s doing what he can to keep this team from sinking completely.

Josi played a big part in the comeback win the Predators managed to get over Florida last week. Without that wild comeback, the Predators would be in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

Without Josi, much like like last season, I’m not sure the Predators even sniff the playoffs. Expect him to ramp up his production even more as the season progresses, and hopefully that will ignite the rest of the team to go on some sort of a run against easier opponents on the schedule.

The Captain is always going to catch some heat when their team is struggling, but Josi is still playing very well and will continue to boost the Predators in many different facets of the game.