The Washington Capitals are looking to greatly improve their defense this off-season. That will be quite difficult to do via free agency, as the only top 4 caliber defensemen in free agency are unrestricted free agents Matt Niskanen and Mark Fayne and restricted free agent P.K. Subban, who the Montreal Canadiens would swan dive into molten lava to keep. Head coach Barry Trotz and General Manager Brian MacLellan both alluded to the Capitals potentially improving through being active in the trade market. One target that they could trade for is someone who Trotz is quite familiar with because he was his coach for the past three seasons: Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi.
What Would It Take To Get Roman Josi?
Acquiring Roman Josi will be a tough task. I wouldn’t blame the Predators one bit if they want to hold onto him. However, if the Predators wanted to trade him, the Capitals could offer a package like this: Marcus Johansson, Troy Brouwer (assuming Brouwer is willing to waive his no-trade clause), and a first round pick in either the 2014 NHL Draft or the 2015 NHL draft.
I think that would be a good deal for both sides. The Capitals trade from a relative surplus to fill a huge need. The Predators do the same. The Capitals need to shore up their defense. The Predators probably want to increase the productivity of their forwards. Last season, Brouwer (25 goals and 43 points in 2013-2014) would have been the Predators’ leading goal scorer and fifth in points scored.
Johansson (44 points in 2013-2014) would have also been their fifth leading goal scorer. Plus, I’m sure new Predators head coach Peter Laviolette would love to have a forward as quick and fast as Johansson. I think Laviolette could do wonders with Johansson. He’s had success with players similar to Marcus when he coached the Philadelphia Flyers. If he can coach him to be more aggressive with the puck, the Predators could have a dangerous weapon in Johansson.
The first round pick would be the icing on the cake. This year’s draft is pretty deep as far as forwards, and next year’s could be even deeper. If the Predators want to be bold and quickly fix their offense, this trade would be a pretty good way to do it.
Would Roman Josi Be Worth It?
I’ll admit, I’m a tad bit weary of giving up the first round pick in the draft and it would be quite difficult to replace both MoJo and Brouwer. You know what would be even more difficult though? Finding a defenseman as good and as young as Roman Josi on the free agent market (or anywhere for that matter) with a team-friendly deal.
At first glance, Roman Josi’s Corsi and Fenwick percentages look bad. However, that can be easily explained if you look at his zone start percentage. He starts most of his shifts in either the neutral zone or defensive zone. Also, I’m willing to give Josi a pass because the Predators offense was almost as bad as the Capitals defense. It’s quite easy to get outshot when your entire team struggles to produce on offense.
The scary thing? Roman Josi is only going to get better from here on out. Josi is a two-way defenseman in every sense of the phrase. He is very productive in both ends of the ice. Plus, who knows Roman Josi better than Barry Trotz? I’m sure Trotz would love to continue coaching Josi. Who wouldn’t?
Let me know what you think in the poll and in the comments!