Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi stayed busy during the NHL lockout, scoring 17 points in 26 games for Bern in the Swiss Elite League.
That helped prepare him for his biggest career challenge: Replacing the departed Ryan Suter as Shea Weber’s defensive partner.
Josi, 22, has demonstrated strong puck-moving skills while scoring 16 points in his 52 NHL games. He offers more upside than Scott Hannan and better defensive play than emerging power-play specialist Ryan Ellis.
“How do you replace Ryan Suter?” Predators coach Barry Trotz told the Tennessean. “I think it’s a combination of Roman Josi five-on-five and maybe a little bit of the power play and penalty kill, and then maybe it’s Scott Hannan and Weber in a (defensive pairing). If it’s a little more offensive (situation), maybe it’s Ryan Ellis and Webs. So I think all three of those guys will make up different elements of Ryan Suter’s game.”
Trotz wants to see Josi assert himself during the team’s abbreviated training camp.
“Probably the biggest thing he will need to get over is not always wanting to give the puck to Webs and to just do his own thing,” Trotz said. “A lot of times a young player, out of respect, will give the puck to the veteran guy all the time. So we’ll just tell him to make the play and work as a tandem. Don’t go too much one way or the other.”