After a long wait, the Nashville Predators named Roman Josi as the eighth captain in franchise history today.
When Mike Fisher announced his retirement, general manager David Poile and head coach Peter Laviolette mentioned that they would conduct their search via interviews during training camp. The answer must have been abundantly clear, as it did not take much time for them to assemble their leadership core, with Roman Josi leading the way.
Roman Josi first debuted for the Predators in the 2011-12 season. After Ryan Suter left, Josi took over the role of being the “Robin” to Shea Weber’s “Batman”, but soon he even eclipsed Weber’s performances. By the time Shea Weber was traded, Roman Josi was the premiere defender on the Predators, leading the team with his ability to generate offense out of the back end.
In a way, Roman Josi taking the reigns of the Predators’ captaincy reflects the franchise. The Predators are an organization well known for developing outstanding defensemen. In the past, they were outstanding shut-down players, but as hockey has changed, the Predators have too. Josi fits the stereotype of the modern, effective defenseman to a tee.
However, being a leader is more about what’s done off the ice than on it and, on those merits alone, Roman Josi is more than deserving to be captain. Remember when he and Mike Fisher became the only two teammates of P.K. Subban’s to ever visit the Montreal Children’s Hospital with him? Or when Fisher and Josi took time out of their Stanley Cup Finals run to visit a child in hospice care? How about when Josi helped Subban out with his Christmas event this season?
Entering his seventh season as a Predator, Roman Josi more than deserves to lead the Predators and wear the “C” on his chest.
With Roman Josi becoming captain, both assistant captain positions were vacant. The other assistant captain from last year, James Neal, was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.
Instead of selecting two players for the two vacancies, the Predators instead selected four. Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Mattias Ekholm all were named to the core leadership group.
However, only two players can wear an “A” for any given game. Therefore, Ryan Ellis was named an “associate captain”, meaning that he will always be wearing an “A” when he plays. The other “A” will rotate between Forsberg, Johansen, and Ekholm. However, with Ellis out until potentially New Year’s, the other three will all get a lot of time with a letter on their sweaters.
The Predators have the youngest average age (25.6-years-old) of any NHL team's group of captains.— Bobby Misey (@Bmisey) September 19, 2017
The oldest players in the Predators’ leadership group, Josi and Ekholm, are each only 27-years-old, a testament to the excellent work done by David Poile in accruing young talent with leadership potential. Ellis once captained the Windsor Spitfires OHL team to a Memorial Cup, while Filip Forsberg was captain of Sweden’s World Junior’s team back in 2014. Not only are the players assembled by Poile young and talented, but they are natural leaders.
Congratulations to Roman Josi and new leaders of the Nashville Predators!