Nashville Predators 2022-23 Season Preview: Our Captain, Roman Josi

Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on January 17, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on January 17, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

When you think of the best players in Nashville Predators history, Roman Josi‘s name is one of the first that comes to mind. After the season he just had, he might just be at the top of that list.

Josi had a historic season for a defenseman, putting up 23 goals and 73 assists, and in the games leading up to the end of the regular season it really felt as if he would reach that 100-point mark.

Even so, Josi has caught some heat for not being the best at the defensive game, but he has certainly made plays on that end of the ice and done enough to be considered a great two-way defenseman.

At age 32, Josi may very well have peaked in terms of his performance, but do not let that make you think he is just going to fall off the face of the Earth. His talent speaks for itself, and you can tell by watching his game that he is still going to be an elite defenseman for several more years.

Josi will continue to do it all for the Nashville Predators

When you have watched Josi over the past few years, there is almost nothing he cannot do. He drives and facilitates the offense and with the puck on his stick, he is a force to be reckoned with.

It is jaw-dropping goals like these that make you realize just how skilled and threatening Josi is to the opposition.

Since the beginning of the 2019-2020 season, the only time he has not produced much offensively was the beginning of the COVID-shortened 2020-2021 season. Even then, he was helping out on the defensive side of things and making plays to break up scoring opportunities for the opponent.

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It is reasons like that why I personally believe Josi’s defensive issues are overblown, and even when he is on the ice for goals against, it is very rarely, if ever, his fault. He has also shown that he can skate with and neutralize guys like Nathan MacKinnon on the rush, so he is far from bad on defense, much less a liability.

Given what Josi can do in nearly every facet of the game and in the locker room, he is nearly impossible to replace for the Predators. And just from an on-ice standpoint, he might be getting an extra boost with better teammates on his side.

Dante Fabbro was alright with Josi, but was he anything great or even above average? Not really.

With the addition of Ryan McDonagh this offseason, Josi may get himself a new defensive linemate. If not McDonagh, then Mattias Ekholm or Alexandre Carrier could be on the top pair with Josi. Either way, we know that the Predators will have a formidable top two defensive pairs.

It will take some pressure off of Josi, which could easily make him better off as an overall player. He could also see a slight decline, but again, let’s not act like any decline is going to change his status as one of the elite defensemen in the league.

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Predictions and overall consensus on Josi

Let’s be fair and say that we should expect a dip in at least his stats, because historic seasons rarely repeat, especially when that player is on the other side of 30. That being said, it is still very possible that Josi is as prolific again.

I personally expect the other guy on his side to be one of McDonagh or Ekholm because their respective games complement Josi, and it could allow him to be even more involved in the offense while one of them handles most of the defensive duties.

Of course there is the problem with two left handed defensemen on the same line, but let’s not place too much of an emphasis on that because the Nashville Predators are going to have that issue no matter what. They would not have gotten McDonagh if either him or Ekholm were not comfortable playing off hand, and it is better to have that problem with a guy like Josi who is good enough to overcome such an issue.

A fair prediction for Josi is 16 goals and 70 assists in 82 games. That is still over a point-per-game scoring rate, and will easily keep him in the discussion for arguably the best blue-liner in the game.

Last season was the first season of Josi’s career that he finished over a point-per-game. He’s in the middle of his peak right now and should be able to maintain at that same offensive pace in 2022-23.