Ed. Note: From August 21st through September 16th, we will be providing previews for each player for the 2013-14 season. Today, we continue with Roman Josi…
|Roman Josi’s last 3 seasons|
2012-13 in review:
Roman Josi was tapped with the huge responsibility of replacing Ryan Suter on the blue line and played the season on the top defensive unit with Predators captain Shea Weber. As a result, and in just his second NHL season, Josi saw his on-ice time increase almost five minutes per game to a 23:32 average. In the shortened season, he added five goals and 13 assists. He was one of just three Preds, along with Weber and David Legwand, to play in all 48 games. Josi spent the lockout in Switzerland and collected 17 points in 26 games with Bern.
With an impressive season for the 23-year-old behind him, Josi’s offseason was equally, if not more, impressive. The Swiss defenseman went on to lead his team to a silver medal at the World Championships and was named the tournament MVP. It was the first time that someone from Switzerland was named MVP of the tournament. He led all defensemen with four goals and five assists in 10 games. Josi also signed a seven-year deal with the Predators worth $28 million on June 10th.
Despite the team’s struggles, Josi’s breakout season was one of the bright spots in 2012-13.
Burning question for 2013-14: Will Jones’ arrival impact Josi’s defensive role?
The drafting of Seth Jones may have altered the Predators’ plans for Josi. After playing last season with Weber, it is possible that he may eventually lose his spot on the top defensive pairing, though Jones and Weber both play on the right side with Josi shooting left. Despite this problem, there has been some talk of Jones opening training camp alongside Weber.
While it would be a surprise to see that pairing stick when the season opens, it would not be a shock to see the smooth-skating Jones excel quick enough that Josi eventually finds himself paired with Kevin Klein on the second defensive unit. Staying on the top pairing may not be as important to Josi as it would be to Weber, who went scoreless in the first nine games last season while getting acclimated to a new defense partner. Now that he and Josi have chemistry, putting the captain with another new, young defenseman may not be the best idea.
After last season’s bump in ice time and offensive output, expectations for Josi remain high. The seven-year deal shows the Predators’ confidence in Josi, who should look like a bargain midway through the new contract. Even if he slips to the second pairing, Josi will see a lot of power play time and will carry a big responsibility on the Predators back end.