The Nashville Predators have had a rough week, losing four of their last six games. One bright spot has been the emergence of young defenseman Roman Josi, who had the best game of his NHL career on Monday night and is starting to look like one of the team’s best young players.
Josi had two goals and two assists against the Dallas Stars on Monday and a plus-3 rating while taking six shots on goal. The Predators need to see a lot out of him and fellow youngster Ryan Ellis this season after seeing Ryan Suter depart via free agency in the offseason. Josi has been logging 22 minutes of ice time or more for Nashville this season, and while he may only have three goals and seven points so far, all of his offensive production has come in the month of February.
The Predators selected Josi in the second round of the 2008 NHL draft and he played one AHL season for the Milwaukee Admirals before getting his shot with the Predators last season. In 52 games he scored five goals and reached 16 points, both marks that he should surpass this season in fewer games. During the lockout, he returned home to Switzerland, where he scored six goals and added 11 assists in 26 games for SC Bern.
It may have taken the Predators defense a while to get going this season, but with Kevin Klein making a big contribution, Shea Weber finally hitting his stride and the young talent of Josi and Ellis continuing to improve, the Predators look to be headed back to the playoffs.