Roman Josi took into account his own injury history when he considered his future.
The Nashville Predators defenseman admitted Tuesday that health concerns were a factor in his decision to sign a seven-year, $28 million contract Monday. The 23-year-old could have gone with a much shorter deal with an eye toward free agency when he is 27 but instead committed to the organization that drafted him in the second round in 2008 until he is 30.
“It gives you a lot of security, of course,” he said in a conference call from his home in Switzerland. “I had some injuries in the past and you never know what happens.”
Josi was one of three Nashville players who appeared in all 48 games this season (Shea Weber and David Legwand were the others) but he missed the first month of the 2011-12 campaign with a concussion sustained in training camp.
The previous year a broken wrist — also sustained in training camp — delayed the start of his first North American season. He played barely half of his final season in Switzerland (2009-10) because of a variety of injuries.
Following a star turn at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships, where he helped Switzerland to a silver medal, he said he relaxed for two weeks before he recently commenced with his offseason training.
“I’m doing the same thing as last year,” he said. “… It worked out pretty well last year, and I’m focusing on putting on some more muscle this year and, of course, keep my nutrition habits.”
When Josi is healthy, he provides an uncommon measure of offense from the blue line.
He was second to Weber among Nashville defensemen in goals, assists and points this season. He and Weber were the only two Predators blue-liners with overtime goals.
In his only full season at Milwaukee (2010-11), he had six goals and 34 assists in 69 games, which made him one of three AHL rookie defensemen with at least 40 points that season. In his 26 games for Bern the previous season he had 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists).
Questions remain, though, about whether he too often neglects his responsibility at the defensive end.
He had a minus-7 rating this season. The only Nashville defenseman who had a worse one, Scott Hannan, was traded before the end of the season. Josi, though, made sure he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
“Nashville is a great organization and they do everything to win,” Josi said. “We had a bad season last season, but I think before we had a pretty good season and got really close to [making] it really far. I know Nashville is going to do everything to get back on that track and that’s why I signed for a long-term deal.”