Previewing the Predators’ defense for 2011-12, part three…
- Updated: August 24, 2011
THIS IS THE EIGHTH IN OUR MULTI-PART SERIES PREVIEWING THE 2011-12 NASHVILLE PREDATORS ROSTER. A NEW INSTALLMENT WILL BE POSTED DAILY, THROUGH AUGUST 26.
If you missed yesterday’s post featuring Jon Blum and Kevin Klein, CLICK HERE.
PROJECTED PAIRING #3 || Roman Josi – Teemu Laakso
Roman Josi played his first season of North American professional hockey last year and wasted no time making an impact. His 40 points in 69 games were tops among Milwaukee Admirals defensemen and was fourth most on the entire club. The former second round pick helped quarterback the Ads powerplay, led the team with 34 assists and is generally regarded as the best Swiss prospect in the world. The only strike against him (and it’s a big one) is his defensive play. Last season, his minus-7 rating was worst on the Admirals, a team that featured 75% of it’s roster at even or better. On paper he reminds a lot of Preds fans of Marek Zidlicky. “Z” always managed to put points on the board from the blueline but was never solid in his own zone. The good news is, as the season went on, Josi got better and better. Plus, he’ll also have his former head coach Lane Lambert with him in Nashville this season so that will only help in his development.
2011-12 PREDICTION: 26 points
Teemu Laakso isn’t necessarily a superstar in the making but he has paid his dues in the Nashville system. Since being drafted in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft, he’s played three seasons in the Finnish Elite League, three seasons in the American Hockey League and eight games over two seasons with the Predators. He had a breakout year with the Admirals in 2010-11, collecting 30 points in 74 games. He’s shown defensive responsibility as well, registering a plus-15 last season, the second highest on the team. Additionally, once Jon Blum was called up, Laakso and Josi were paired together and played really well. The Predators have a track record with guys proving their worth in the system. They also have a track record with late bloomers. Laakso fulfills both and should be rewarded with an opening night roster spot.
2011-12 PREDICTION: 10 points
PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Paulus // Milwaukee Admirals (used with permission)