Roman Josi was almost unbelievable in 2021-22. Not only was he competing for another Norris Trophy (which he lost to Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche, who was also incredible), but he was the backbone of a Nashville Predators team aiming for another shot at the postseason. He was scoring points left and right, no matter who was on the ice with him.
Josi finished four points away from the century mark, which tied him with New York Rangers star forward Artemi Panarin in 11th. The two scored 96 points in 80 and 75 games, respectively.
With those 96 points, Josi led all defenders, the next closest being Makar (86 in 77 games). Breakout seasons from forwards like Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Tanner Jeannot helped his assist numbers skyrocket the rankings, putting him first among defenders and fifth among all players. He was one of the only players that the team could bank on to score on a night-to-night basis.
In the advanced analytics department, Josi ranked second behind Forsberg in goals above replacement (GAR) and third behind Forsberg and Duchene in expected goals above replacement (xGAR). He ranked fourth and ninth respectively in those analytics among all defenders, which may have played a part in the voting from a few writers in the Norris Trophy race, along with his slightly below-average defense.
For the upcoming 2022-23 season, I would expect more of the same from Josi in terms of leading the team in production. If he manages to stay healthy, the only person I could see really taking over that responsibility is Forsberg. However, the real question is, how much of a regression will hit the 32-year-old Swiss defender?
If it isn’t apparent already, the likelihood of the Predators captain scoring at the same pace he did in 2021-22 is not high. What Josi was doing (and on pace to do) had not been done in almost 30 years. So, as much fun as it was, don’t expect another record-breaking season. However, the one thing that Josi hasn’t lost despite slowly climbing up the age leaderboard is his legs. As he’s matured, he looks more impressive with the puck in transition. He knows how to take every inch of space and use it advantageously.
The one thing I will say regarding Josi is nothing should surprise anyone. It’s almost as if he defies expectations every season. If I were to predict one thing for 2022-23, I would say he stays near a point per game but doesn’t hit that plateau. If 60-70 points from him don’t do the trick for the team, there are more significant problems at hand.