Two years ago, we viewed the choice as rather simple.
Two years later, the decision sure seems to be just as clear.
Yes, we’ll readily admit once again you wouldn’t expect anything less from the official website of the team roman josi leads every night, but we believe the time for another honor has come.
Nashville’s captain deserves to win the Norris Trophy – for a second time – as the NHL’s best defenseman. The award, which is annually bestowed upon, “the defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” isn’t just handed out. The Norris is an accolade only worthy for such an incredible, individual performance over the course of a full season like Josi has just completed.
The best Swiss hockey player ever didn’t just break his own records over the past seven months – he rekindled NHL marks from the backend many thought would never be flirted with again.
Names like Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque – some of the best to ever play the position – were mentioned with regularity down the stretch because of Josi’s ridiculous numbers in this day and age.
Josi now unequivocally deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with that group of legends over and over again – and that’s just part of the reasoning as to why he deserves another piece of hardware.
Perhaps the easiest place to start is by taking a gainer at the stat line for No. 59.
The Bern native led all NHL defensemen in points during the 2021-22 campaign with 96 (23g-73a). In doing so, he became just the eighth blueliner in NHL history to record at least 96 points in a season and the first since former Preds Assistant Coach Phil Housley did so in 1992-93.
Josi’s 73 assists were tied for the 16th-most by a defenseman in a season in NHL history. He’s the eighth blueliner in NHL history to post at least 73 assists in a season and the first since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.
The Predators captain was tied for 11th among all skaters in points, the highest a defenseman has finished in the category since Brent Burns in 2016-17 (ninth). His 23 goals from him were the second-most among NHL blueliners and he finished fifth among all NHL skaters in assists.
He carved four points in a single game on four occasions this season, the first defenseman to do so since 1992-93, and he also led all blueliners in three-point games with 12, the most in a single season by a defenseman since Paul Coffey in 1993-94. Josi was also first among players in his position in multi-point games with 26.
Would the Predators be preparing for their eighth-consecutive playoff appearance if it weren’t for Josi? Probably not.
He led all NHL defensemen in the percentage of his team’s goals he scored or assisted on at 36.6 percent, a mark that stands as the third-highest total by a defenseman in NHL history and the highest since Bobby Orr in 1974-75 (39.1 percent ).
Josi also factored in on 13.2 percent of Nashville’s total points, the fifth-highest total by a defenseman since 1938-39 during the Franklin Roosevelt Administration. The only blueliners in NHL history to record a higher percentage of his team’s points in a season are Bobby Orr, who did so three times (last: 1974-75, 15.1 percent), and Erik Karlsson (2015-16, 13.9 percent).
Now, how about some possession metrics?
No NHL defenseman was as dominant in possessing the puck as Josi was in 2021-22. Using data from Sportlogiq, Josi led all NHL blueliners in the following per game: controlled zone exits at 7.56; controlled zone exits with successful play after at 6.24; controlled zone entries at 4.33; controlled zone entries leading to a scoring chance at 1.24; and offensive zone loose puck recoveries with 7.83.
Josi also finished second among NHL defensemen in offensive zone puck possession time per game at 0:53 and tied for third in total puck possession time per game at 2:31.
Finally – because why not – here are some numbers that may never be seen in Nashville, and elsewhere, again.
Josi was the only NHL defenseman to lead his team in points, and he broke the Predators franchise record for points and assists in a season. I have recorded a career-best 13-game point streak (4g-24a) from March 2-27. He also scored 11 power-play goals, the most by an NHL defenseman since 2016-17.
Josi was named the NHL’s First Star in March after leading the League with 32 points (4g-28a) during the month, becoming the first defenseman to outright lead the NHL in scoring during a month since Paul Coffey in February 1990. He recorded four straight games with at least three points (2g-11a) from March 13-19; Bobby Orr (6 GPs in 1970-71) is the only other blueliner in NHL history to accomplish the feat.
Sure, we’re biased, but the evidence doesn’t allow for anything else. Josi is just too good to ignore.
He’s already been judged the best in the world at what he does once, and it’s time to do so again.