By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
Nashville’s Roman Josi has a chance to add some hardware to a franchise’s trophy case that’s been slowly filling up in recent years.
On Monday, the Predators captain was named one of three finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top defenseman. It’s the first nomination for Josi in his career – he has finished in the top ten in the voting four times and has finished in fifth twice.
It’s also the fifth time a Nashville blueliner has been named a finalist. Former captain Shea Weber was a three-time finalist while playing for the Music City before being traded to Montreal for P.K. Subban, who won the Norris in 2013 with the Habs and was a finalist as a Predator in 2018. Kimmo Timonen, who served as captain during his final season with Nashville in 2006-07, finished in fifth for the award that same year.
Pekka Rinne’s Vezina Trophy honor in 2018 is the only award won by a Predator for on-ice performance. David Poile won the GM of the Year Award in 2017 while four other players have won awards for sportsmanship, leadership and community service.
Add those six awards to the Lester Patrick Trophy Poile won in 2001 for his contributions to ice hockey in the United States, the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl the Predators received for winning the Western Conference Finals in 2017 and the Presidents’ Trophy the following season and that totals nine formal awards the franchise has collected in 21 seasons in the NHL.
In addition, only three players in franchise history have been named a First or Second Team All-Star. Weber received the nod four times in Nashville, Rinne’s done it twice and Subban once. Josi will likely become the fourth at the end of the season.
Washington’s John Carlson and Tampa’s Victor Hedman are the other two Norris finalists. Hedman won the award in 2018, but this year’s race really seems to be between Josi and Carlson. Carlson has put together one of the most impressive scoring seasons by a defenseman in the last 25 years, but other defensive metrics would give a nod to Josi. The award’s criteria for “all-around ability at the position” suggests it’s a toss-up.
While the organization’s main focus is on the league’s qualifying round series against Arizona coming up next week, Josi could add more history to a franchise that’s continued to build a case as a staple in the NHL.