Roman Josi

 

The Nashville Predators must have a secret lab somewhere where they breed young defence prospects. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the names of all of them, another one takes a big development leap.

 

This year, that defenceman is Roman Josi, a Swiss-bred rearguard that the Predators took in the second round (38th overall) in 2008.

 

In his third season in Switzerland’s top pro league, Josi put up excellent numbers as he tallied nine goals and 12 assists in just 26 games. He also had a stint with the Swiss national team at the world juniors and – in an impressive feat for a teen-aged defenceman – is tied for the scoring lead among blueliners at the world championship.

 

Josi has a goal and two assists through three games and scored the game-winner against Latvia last Saturday. Such a precocious display of offensive ability by a defenceman is rare at the world championships. Despite Switzerland’s recent wave of blueline talent that began with Mark Streit, the Swiss have never had a phenom on the blueline like Josi. Luca Sbisa earned accolades for his cool demeanour when he made the Philadelphia Flyers at age 18 and Yannick Weber has wowed scouts with the heavy shot he used to notch 20 goals with the Kitchener Rangers, but Josi could be the best of them because he combines their skills. As a fantasy GM, you don’t worry too much about defence, but with a guy like Weber, his size and inability to handle bigger forwards could keep him out of the lineup or worse, out of the NHL. With Josi, there are no such concerns, and he has offensive upside is equal to that of Sbisa, perhaps with more likelihood that he’ll hit it.

 

The Predators are excited about his potential because of his puck-moving skills and his penchant for well-time forays into the attack. Josi reads the game very well and makes smart, simple plays. He’s responsible defensively and is a well-rounded blueliner who plays well all over the ice. He has good anticipation that allows him to use his stick to shut down passing lanes.

 

The six-foot-one, 198-pound Josi is a former captain of his country’s under-18 team at the world championship and is very strong on his skates and just needs to develop the strength to handle bigger forwards.

 

Josi would be on a faster path to the NHL with just about any other NHL team. However, with Blueliner Inc., a.k.a. the Nashville Predators, his arrival time will depend on his ability to outplay rivals and the contract status of other defencemen. Dan Hamhuis, for one, could very well price himself out of town this summer and make way for Alexander Sulzer. The Predators brought Cody Franson into the mix this past season and already have Ryan Suter and Shea Weber in the top two slots. The Predators like to take their time with prospects, so expect Josi to spend a year in the AHL to adjust to the North American game before he arrives in Nashville in 2011.

 

Upside: No. 2 defender, 15-35-50


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Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
Josi signs with Preds As per CapGeek, with details.

http://bit.ly/a4qrlY
May 28, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
A note about upside When I project a player's upside, it is based on everything working out for the guy. Dobber asks me to think about upside in this way:

"If a forward gets top-line duty, or top six-duty, with power-play time, or if a defenceman is top-four with good power-play time, and is in his prime, what kind of production could he hit?"

This doesn't have to be a regular occurrence and the player only has to click well for a full season for this upside to be achieved.

So, basically, I'm projecting a career year of 50 points for Josi.

How often he will do it, and how close he will get in the other years, and which team he'll do it with (it will be more difficult with Nashville than another team) are variables that are determined by opportunity.

A player's likely projection is about 20 per cent lower than upside.

The Fantasy Prospects report, also factors in the certainty that a player will be an NHLer and that takes into account opportunity and things such as the likelihood a player will come over to the NHL -- especially important for Europeans.

The things that impress me the most about Josi -- other than the glowing scouting reports -- are:

1) Extensive international experience (four world junior tournaments, although one was the division 1 tournament; two under-18 world championships; and two world championships)

and

2) The fact that he's just 19 (He'll be 20 on June 1) and has already played three professional seasons in Switzerland. This is impressive for any player, even more so for a defenceman.

With others in the system like Ellis and Blum, guys like Franson and Sulzer just getting established and guys like Weber, Suter and Grebeshkov already in the NHL, there won't be a lot of opportunities in the Music City and competition for jobs will be fierce. This is good for organizations, but not individual players. If you're a fantasy GM with one of these guys on your team, you almost hope the team will eventually turn some of this depth into other assets.
May 16, 2010
Votes: +0

Tim said:

wharfrat
Nice article Nice article Ryan. That's pretty impressive company you have him up there with. I'll have to keep an eye on this guy. Keep these articles coming.
May 15, 2010
Votes: +0

DuklaNation said:

DuklaNation
... My error, with so many tourneys it gets jumbled. the rest of my comment remains though. Your comment about ice time appears to be hopeful at best. They have a logjam, that is a fact. Therefore any potential he may have must be discounted.
May 15, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
Swiss roster at Vancouver 2010 Olympics Here's a link to Swiss roster at Olympics.

http://bit.ly/ddlMsy
May 15, 2010
Votes: +0

Ryan Van Horne said:

Scribe
Josi did not play at Olympics Roman Josi did not play for Switzerland at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Their blueline corps consisted of Streit, Weber, Sbisa, Blindenbacher, Diaz, Seger, Furrer and von Gunten. He played at world juniors and is at men's worlds in Germany right now.

Sure, there is a bit of a logjam in Nashville, but they are going to let Hamhuis walk, which will help. A trade would certainly increase his chances, but when predicting upside, I have to assume that he'll get the ice time. Obviously, if he doesn't get power play time it cuts into his production.
May 15, 2010
Votes: +0

DuklaNation said:

DuklaNation
... Noticed him at the Olympics. Excellent speed and puckhandling. He looked more like a forward playing D. Pinches way too often. As a fantasy GM, I do worry about defence. If he cant play it, he wont make the NHL (unless he scores 40 goals) playing major minutes. WOuld be an interesting prospect for any other team than Nashville. Unfortunately with Ellis & Blum ahead of him, the door is closed for the immediate future. Unless Nashville makes a trade (which they should at this point).
May 15, 2010
Votes: +0
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