Photo by Tayhlor Stephenson / Lifestyles Editor
A new era of leadership has begun in Nashville as the Nashville Predators announced defenseman Roman Josi as the franchise’s eighth captain in its 20-year history.
Josi has some big shoes to fill, following up Mike Fisher and Shea Weber as the newest player to don the “C” on the left shoulder of his jersey.
Drafted in 2008, Josi has been a consistent contributor for the Preds during his time in “Smashville.” He placed fifth for the Norris trophy in 2015 and 2016, an award given to the league’s top defenseman.
He finished with 49 points, 12 goals and 37 assists last season. In the team’s historic run to the Stanley Cup Final, he scored six goals and contributed 14 total points in 22 games.
The team also named their new leadership group on Tuesday, announcing three assistant captains and one associate captain.
Defenseman Ryan Ellis was named as the team’s new associate captain, meaning he’ll assume the role of Josi’s second-in-command. Ellis finished last season with 16 goals and 38 points with the team. In the second round of playoffs against the Blues, Ellis was one of the hottest Predators in the lineup. He scored three goals and helped the team get to their first Western Conference Final in franchise history.
Center Ryan Johansen, forward Filip Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm were each given assistant captain positions.
Johansen is arguably the team’s most talented player, and his solid play against the Blues and Ducks is a major reason the Preds got to the Final in the first place. Before his injury in game four against the Ducks, he was leading the team in points for the postseason with 13.
Johansen set a new career-high in assists in 2017, chalking up 47 assists and 61 total points.
Forsberg is another young player that is on the rise for Nashville. He gets the “A” on his jersey just a year after tying Viktor Arvidsson for the team-lead in goals with 31. With another year in the league under his belt, he appears primed for his best season yet.
Ekholm is the final captain of the group, and his spot is just as well-deserved as the others. More of a defensive-minded player, he still contributed three goals and 23 points to the team last season. His biggest goal of the season came in game three of the Stanley Cup Final when he sniped a shot past Pittsburgh goalkeeper Matt Murray to lock up a 5-1 victory.
With this new leadership group in place and the preseason underway, the Predators are looking to finish what they started last season with one goal in mind: parading the Stanley Cup down Broadway in Nashville.