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Josi Humbled by Captaincy Designation, Ready to Lead Preds

Star Defenseman Becomes Second Homegrown Captain in Predators History

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

It's been almost a decade since his name was called with the 38th selection of the 2008 Draft.

The blueliner from Switzerland had loads of promise - a solid defender with an offensive streak to go along, just as handy with a tennis racket as he was with a hockey stick.

And what started out as a hope quickly morphed into reality. Defensemen of his caliber are not commonplace. Except in Nashville.

Game after game, season after season, Roman Josi got better. Now, the 27-year-old from Bern, with looks as dashing as his skating stride, is ready to embrace an honor reserved for an elite few.

Josi was named the eighth captain in Nashville Predators franchise history on Tuesday, assuming the role from Mike Fisher, who retired during the offseason.

As captain, Josi will see an increased role on the Predators leadership team, which will also see some new appointments. Defenseman Ryan Ellis has been named as the team's associate captain, while Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm will all serve as assistant captains. In addition, Pekka Rinne, P.K. Subban and Nick Bonino have all taken positions within the leadership group.

After learning from some of the best the franchise has ever seen, the second homegrown captain in club history is ready to lead the Predators to heights they've never seen before.

Video: Roman Josi reflects on being named Preds captain

"I'm really excited," Josi said. "It's obviously a huge honor, and I've had some really good guys to learn from with former captains Shea Weber and Mike Fisher in the time I've been here. It's definitely a huge honor, and I know we have a great leadership group, a great group of guys, so I'm really excited."

One of just five NHL defensemen who has recorded at least 40 points in each of the last five seasons - Josi tallied 49 last season - he was one of four Predators to represent Nashville at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, while finishing fifth in voting for the Norris Trophy in both 2015 and 2016.

Josi, who has lead all Predators defensemen in points in each of the last three campaigns, is just as productive off the ice. Among other community endeavors, he recently teamed up with Best Buddies Tennessee to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

So, when it came time for Predators General Manager and Head Coach Peter Laviolette to make their decision and appoint a new captain, the choice was clear.

"This is the right time to name Roman the captain of our franchise," Poile said. "Not only is he one of our best players, but he's also one of the top defensemen in the entire League. He's respected by his teammates, coaches and opponents and he represents our organization and logo with the utmost class and integrity on and off the ice. I know Roman is ready to become captain and I have no doubt he will fulfill these duties with the same passion we've become accustomed to seeing from him day after day."

"Roman has led by example every day of his life," Laviolette said. "He is respected by all of his teammates and his peers. His work ethic, communication skills and accountability to his team make him the perfect choice to lead this group moving forward."

Video: David Poile on Roman Josi as captain

The dream to make it to the NHL one day was always present for Josi in his youth, but that was where it stopped. Never did he envision one day the chance to captain a team in the top hockey league in the world. Now, he doesn't have to imagine any longer.

"You always dream about playing in the NHL, but being a captain of an NHL team, it's definitely something I never thought about," Josi said. "It's a huge honor, and I'm just really excited to get going. I think all of us are."

It's remarkable how quickly a decade passes through the grasps of time. After all, it wasn't all that long ago when Josi pulled a Predators jersey over his head for the first time - a bright-eyed blueliner, wondering what was to come. Today, he slips on a sweater with the 'C' affixed to his chest.

"It's crazy how fast it went," Josi said. "It's almost been 10 years since I've been drafted and it's my seventh season, too. It feels like just yesterday when I came over… You've definitely got to enjoy every moment."

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