Saturday, November 26, 2011

Plan For Roman Josi Unclear After Recall

The Nashville Predators announced the recall of rookie defenseman Roman Josi before practice on Saturday morning. He participated with the team in practice but it was unclear when he might see time in the lineup with the Predators.

When Preds' Head Coach Barry Trotz was asked specifically about what Josi brings, he responded, "A seventh defenseman."

Josi was equally unclear about getting into the lineup, "I don't know what the plan is for the coach so I'll try to give it everything in practice and if I get a chance to play I will try my best."

Trotz explained further, "The whole plan was to have him come up and get him acclimated to playing. I've only seen him play maybe a game and a half. Every time I've tried to see him play, he's been hurt."

Josi sports the ultimate hard luck story. Last season, he was injured in the first rookie game and missed the remainder of camp and the first part of the season in Milwaukee.

It was his first year in North America on the smaller ice surface, and he managed to play 69 games with the Admirals and had six goals and 34 assists as he learned a new style of play. He also had a goal and six assists in 13 playoff games.

He was paired with Jon Blum much of the time before Blum's recall in February. Blum described Josi's game. "He's a great skater. He really skates the puck out of trouble and is real poised. He can move the puck up and has a good first pass. He's a good offensive player so that's a bonus for us."

Heading into camp this season, Josi was probably the odds-on favorite of the pure rookies to make the squad out of camp. He received a concussion early in camp and has been sidelined up until a few weeks ago when he began working out.

Josi has played five games with Milwaukee in the last couple of weeks and claims to have gotten his conditioning back. He had a goal and three assists and 19 shots in his brief stint with the Admirals.

Generally, when the Predators recall players it is with an intention of inserting them into the lineup in the next game. As Trotz continued to discuss Josi, it truly sounded that in this instance as if they really wanted more of a look at his play.

"I have a good handle on what he can bring. I've seen him in the World Championships so I have a good idea on what he is but the other players need to see what he can bring and we just want to see where he is with his overall conditioning."

When pressed on when Josi will see game action with the Predators, Trotz simply stated, "We'll work him in somewhere."

Fans have clamored to see Junior hockey sensation Ryan Ellis in a Predators uniform. When Trotz was asked why Josie was called up first, he said with no hesitation, "He's been the best one, no other reason."

For Josi, it has been a long road to make it to an NHL roster. He is 21 and was drafted by the Preds in the second round, 38th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry draft.

He played in the World Juniors as well as the World Championships for Switzerland several times and spent over three seasons with SC-Bern in the Swiss League before coming to North America last season.

"I'm really excited to be here and healthy after a couple of games in Milwaukee," stated Josi. "It was bad luck, last year in the first practice (wrist), and this year first practice I got hurt (concussion) and that was tough. I felt good before camp and then I got hurt but I feel good now and I'm excited to be here."

You never quite know what the plan is with Barry Trotz as he plays his cards close to the vest. One thing is certain. Roman Josi will see time in a Predators uniform this year and is considered the defenseman that is the most NHL ready at this juncture. It will be interesting to see how the recall plays out.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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