Agent Gerry Johannson says the Wild is one of many teams in the running for Nashville Predators free-agent defenseman Jonathon Blum. The agent says nothing is finalized, but according to NHL sources, it's all but signed, sealed and delivered and Blum will indeed be signing with Minnesota as early as Friday.
“We’ve talked to Minnesota and a number of teams,” Johannson said. “They are definitely in the running.”
General Manager Chuck Fletcher has said the past week the Wild will likely sign a defenseman with NHL experience to a two-way contract. Blum, a 2007 first-round pick by Nashville, likely fits that two-way mold. He would vie for a roster spot come the fall if not have the opportunity to be a first callup option.
The Predators didn’t tender Blum, 24, a former Western Hockey League star from the Vancouver Giants, a qualifying offer presumably because the threat of his winning a one-way arbitration case and Nashville’s logjam on the blue line. He became an unrestricted free agent last Friday. It was clear from reading Josh Cooper's stuff in the Tennessean the past few years that Blum has talent but needed a fresh start. Just wasn't working there.
The 6-1, 195-pound right-shot blue-liner has scored seven goals and 22 points in 91 NHL games. In four years with the Giants, Blum, their former captain, scored 49 goals and 204 points. He was WHL and CHL Defenseman of the Year in 2009. He scored 66 points that year playing on a team with Winnipeg’s Evander Kane. He won a Memorial Cup in 2007. His Giants teams record four consecutive years of 100 points. He is their all-time leader in assists (138).
The Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., native represented the U.S. in the world juniors twice. He’s a product of the California Wave (you may have seen that documentary on them a few years back, called In the Crease).
Here’s a story on Blum in the Vancouver Sun last week.
Here’s a story on Blum in the Vancouver Province last week.
The Wild's depth chart on the blue line for roster hopefuls now looks like:
Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella-Keith Ballard
Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon
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Coach Mike Yeo explained why he's stayed with that line combination and said that Devan Dubnyk will be back in goal tonight.
The Wild coach tried to hold an upbeat, morale-boosting practice in New York on Wednesday. "We just needed a good workday," Yeo said afterward "That's what we got."
The Wild battled for the tying goal late in the second period but managed to give up the go-ahead goal less than a minute later in its latest loss, this time to the Islanders.
The Wild, which lost 10 of 13 games in January, looks to start anew in February with a three-game road trip that starts in Brooklyn.