Switzerland’s hockey team made a surprising run to the gold medal game at the 2013 IIHF World Championship, and the standout play of Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi was a big reason for their success. Josi took home MVP honors and was named to the tournament All-Star team, both of which were firsts for the Swiss. He led all defenseman with four goals and nine points, and had the lone goal for his team in a 5-1 loss to Sweden in the gold medal game. Josi was also honored as the tournament’s Best Defenseman.
The 2013 regular season saw Josi tie his career high in goals with five, and set a new career high in points with 18. This was just his second season with the Predators, and he reached the 100-game mark in the final game of the season. Josi is a restricted free agent, and the Predators may now end up spending more to bring him back than they wanted to. He had a cap hit of $1 million last season, but now that his entry-level contract has expired and he has proven to be consistent at both ends of the ice, he is definitely in line for a salary bump.
The Predators have a lot of cap space invested in their defense already, but most of that is Shea Weber’s contract. After seeing Ryan Suter depart last season, they can ill afford to see another talented young blueliner head elsewhere. They may have been able to keep Josi’s skill mostly under the radar, but now many more teams are aware of his talent which will only drive his price higher.