When the Nashville Predators lost Ryan Suter to free agency last summer, there were questions over who could take his place next to Shea Weber on the blue line and who could benefit from increased playing time as a result of Suter’s departure.
Some thought that would be Ryan Ellis. But he was disappointing and eventually sent to the Milwaukee Admirals. The player who has truly benefited from Suter heading out of town has been Roman Josi.
Josi was coming into his second season, after appearing in 52 games with the Predators last year. He posted 16 points, including four on the power play, and blocked 98 shots in that action. This year, he’s been able to see some increased time on the blue line, and has taken advantage of it.
The only player seeing more time on ice per game than Roman Jose this season has been Shea Weber, and it’s not by much. Josi is playing just over 23 minutes per game, and the points are coming with it.
In 34 games this season, Josi has already tied his point total from last season. His goal and assist numbers are identical (five goals, 11 assists) to what he had for the entirety of last season. He’s seeing time at full strength, on the power play (where he has five points), and especially on the penalty kill.
He’s been particularly impressive lately. As the Preds have needed an offensive boost, Josi has done his part from the blue line. He has points in six of his last seven games and three of those games featured multi-point performances.
Josi is a perfect example of a player getting some increased playing time as a result of another player leaving and taking advantage of it. The Preds are fading in the Western Conference playoff picture, but it’s certainly not the fault of Roman Josi. He’s been terrific for them this year.