The Nashville Predators will open the upcoming 2017-18 season with Roman Josi as their new captain after unveiling the news at training camp on Tuesday.
Josi replace Mike Fisher who spent 2016-17 as the Predators’ captain before retiring shortly after the season. Josi becomes the third team captain in the past three years with Shea Weber having sported the ‘C’ prior to Fisher donning the almighty letter.
“This is the right time to name Roman the captain of our franchise,” said Preds’ GM David Poile. “Not only is he one of our best players, but he’s also become one of the top defensemen in the entire league. He’s respected by his teammates, coaches and opponents and he represents our organization and logo with the utmost class and integrity on and off the ice. I know Roman is ready to become captain and i have no doubt he will fulfill these duties with the same passion we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him day after day.”
Josi: A Pillar of Consistency
Josi, 27, is headed into his seventh NHL season and seventh with the Predators. He was originally drafted in the second round (38th overall) by Nashville in 2008. Since then, he’s collected 64 goals and 239 points in 406 regular season games. He’s notched 37 points or more in each of the last three seasons hitting a career-high 47 points in 2015-16.
When it comes to the playoffs, he’s no different. In 52 career games, he has eight goals and 24 points over four playoff seasons. He was part of the Predators team that reached the Cup Final in 2016-17 and tallied 14 points in their 22 games on their way to a matchup with the defending champion Penguins.
He was named to the NHL All-Star team in 2016 when the event was held in Nashville and has been among the top 11 defenceman in Norris Trophy voting each of the last three seasons.
He ranks fifth on the team’s all-time list for games played by a defenceman (406), third in goals scored by defensemen (64), fourth in assists (176) and third in points (240).
Even when you bring all positions into the mix, Josi is among the top 20 in the franchise’s all-time goals list and among the top 10 in assists and points.
His statistical leadership is uncanny and as Poile noted in the quote above he is a leader and a voice in the dressing room – something he got from his previous captains in Weber and Fisher.
“Both of those guys were the hardest-working guys every time we stepped on the ice, whether it was a practice or a game,” said Josi in Vingan’s Tennessean article. “When I came up, I was 21 and Shea was the captain. You watch a guy like him, you want to follow that, you want to do the same things. That’s really important to do that as a captain, and the rest of the team will follow that.”
Those That Came Before Josi
As mentioned, Josi will become the third captain in the past three years. He also becomes the eighth captain in franchise history.
Tom Fitzgerald was the first to wear the ‘C’ in franchise history and donned the letter from July 6, 1998, to March 13, 2002.
He was followed up by Greg Johnson in October 2002 and led the team four another four years until June 30, 2006.
Scott Walker took over on an interim basis on January 12, 2003, and had the tag removed just 15 days later on January 27.
From there, Kimmo Timonen took on the captaincy from October 2006 to June 2007. Jason Arnott wore it from September 2007 to June 2010 and that’s where Weber took over. He led the Preds for six years before Fisher preceded the newest captain in franchise history.
There are a number of expectations on the team after they reached the Cup Final a year ago, but it seems as though Josi is ready to lead the team back to postseason glory.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.