Hello, OTF! We’re bringing you a monthly feature where we all gather around and talk about some big topic that affects the Nashville Predators and their fans. Right now, what else—it’s Roman Josi’s big extension (which is technically a new contract; thanks Jim).
We go to the staff for some reactions, and it’s more or less unanimous:
Kate: If you like arguing about Roman Josi, you’re going to love this contract.
Tucker: In any long-term deal you are ultimately paying for the front end and enduring the back end. This deal could really suck in the last 3-4 years, but the Preds’ window will be closed by that time anyway, and that’s why you do the deal.
Nick: I agree with Tucker. To judge this, you have to be honest about where the Preds are as a franchise, and the cost of losing Josi this summer far outweighs a “dead” year or two 7-8 years down the road. This was an “all-in” play from David Poile. He knows this group’s window is closing in a few years (perhaps his window as well). If you lose Josi, either via trade or free agency, there’s not much opportunity to grab a replacement at his level. You had no choice but to make this deal.
Shaun: The term could have been a little bit shorter, but if this contract means Josi spends his last couple of seasons as a very highly-paid third-pairing defender, as long as he can look up in the rafters and see a Stanley Cup Championship banner, then it’s worth it.
Rachel: How do the Predators replace Roman Josi if they allow him to walk? Answer: they don’t. That kind of job security allows David Poile to flex his remaining cap space to shore up forward strength. Is the answer Craig Smith or Mikael Granlund? I’m not sure, but being sound at defense is very on-brand Predators. My only concern is if Josi is injured in the super-vague upper-body area. He’s had his share of concussions, and another one could spell trouble for the Swiss defender.
Bryan: In a different world, a player’s salary would be an exact representation of a player’s ability and future. But that’s a fairy-tale world. In reality, the market sets the price, and continues to set the price down the road. I really believe that the market would probably put Roman Josi at $10 million. Players like Josi in the coming years will get more as the cap climbs higher.
Sure, there are concerns: the history of concussions, the fact that his defensive measures aren’t very good for a defender, and the eight-year term and a NMC which means there’s no flexibility. These are all valid. But the positives are also there: he’s elite at transition play, and helps generate scoring chances consistently; he is deployed with players that either utilize his offensive ability or bolster his defense; and for the foreseeable future he is paired with a fantastic all-around defender in Ryan Elllis. There are lots of what-if questions, and I get the concern—but for the next 3-4 years, Roman Josi will be one of the best players on the ice in Nashville, and that’s exactly what we’re paying for.
I’d also like to mention that since Dante Fabbro played last season, that means he’s eligible to be taken in the expansion draft. This means either 1) they protect the top four and keep JOFA+Duchene or 2) likely a defender gets exposed, and if that happens, you want to have talent to fill that spot. And from what we’ve seen so far, that talent isn’t there yet. So having Josi makes that transition a little easier.
Musa: Compared to what the market could have been, this deal is a steal. Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson got paid significantly more and still had NTCs and NMCs. There is always going to be a gamble signing a guy at Josi’s age to this kind of contract, but this is the gamble we take, and we took it at the best possible price. Poile pulls another miracle.
Ann: The contract had to be done. Yes, it is a long one, but this is Roman Josi we are talking about—he’s the captain, and while he’s not the most gregarious player on the team, he is in many ways the backbone. Poile always makes me nervous when it comes to making deals because he is not afraid to make big moves, and the longer the season went on without a contract announcement, the more nervous I felt. Fortunately, Poile understands that there is no Cup coming to Smashville without Josi. You just aren’t going to get his caliber of play from any old defender. I’m also old school—I like the idea of a player being with one franchise for their entire career, especially one like Josi.
Laura: First, it’s a pretty fair deal all around. Yes, the NMC is scary, but some years ago we were bemoaning paying Pekka Rinne into his late 30s. We gave Josi back-end security in exchange for a less than market price. He’s been on a low-cost deal for awhile and it was time to pay up. Poile is going all in for the Cup.
Sarah: The NMC doesn’t scare me. With the upcoming expansion draft he would’ve been protected anyway, and if the Preds’ plan goes completely awry and there’s a sudden need to sell off members of the team, NMCs can be altered to accommodate both sides. It’s a lengthy contract, it’s an expensive contract—but Josi is the captain of this team and the contract is ultimately a showing of good faith by GMDP and proof they’re all in and believe they have what it takes to win.
It’s not the team-friendly deals of the past that we’ve seen be common for this team, but as the captain Josi has the right to demand the most money. He also didn’t demand to be the top-paid defender in the league, which in a sense is kind of team friendly. I don’t think Josi is currently the third-best in the league, but at 30 he’s not too old to become it. He’s definitely top ten and for what he is (offensive defender) he is one of the best, if not the best, at what he does. If you’re a Preds fan you had to know this was coming. They weren’t going to let Josi go and he wasn’t going to back down. Your options were say goodbye to your captain—the current best defender now that P.K. Subban is gone—and hope for the best, or pay the man.
TL;DR the deal is essentially a good deal.
Pacatrue: This contract means that Roman Josi moves from being one of the many good defenders in Preds tradition to one of its most significant players ever. He could be the Captain for ten years, through what should be our strongest sustained period in franchise history—hopefully through several strong play-off runs and perhaps even a Cup. Unless something horrible happens, get ready for his jersey in the rafters as the leader of the team in its heyday.