Jon Blum shows maturity by signing one-year, two-way contract extension…

Blum MKE2

During an emergency call-up in January of 2011, rookie defenseman Jon Blum became a surprise staple on the Nashville Predators blueline. He posted eight points during the stretch run to the playoffs and then two more points in the playoffs.

In the fall of 2011, however, he underwhelmed in his 33 games, prompting a reassignment to the Milwaukee Admirals.

After spending the rest of the season in the AHL, Blum was not satisfied and went to the Predators brass to ask what he could do to find his way back to the National Hockey League.

“He’s been in Nashville since the first week of July,” General Manager David Poile said. “He’s working on his strength, his size, his conditioning and to give himself every chance to get back to where he was a year ago.

“We started last year with Blum and Kevin Klein as our second pair. Hopefully last year was a little bit of an aberration and maybe he can be the surprise of training camp.”

Poile and the Predators announced this afternoon that Blum has signed a one-year, two-way contract for the 2012-13 season. The deal will pay him $650,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level.

The one-year deal is an obvious suggestion that the Predators are looking for more out of their 2007 first round draft choice. The two-way part of it, however, is a strong sign that Blum has matured. By his willingness to sign a two-way deal, the Rancho Santa Margarita, California native is admitting that he knows he needs to be better and that he’s eager to show Nashville that he can play up to his potential.

“It’s definitely a wake-up call,” Blum told Smashville 24/7 earlier this month. “I came up the year before and played to my capabilities and played a lot. There’s no reason to believe I can’t be at that level again.”

And he’ll have to if he wants an NHL job. In August, the Predators went out and signed veteran free agent defenseman Scott Hannan. In doing so (and from piecing together comments from both Poile and Head Coach Barry Trotz over the summer), the Nashville blueline depth chart is projected as follows:

Shea WeberRoman Josi
Kevin Klein – Scott Hannan
Hal GillRyan Ellis

So Blum must either force his name into the conversation or wait for an injury in order to stick. Neither is advantageous but, in yet another sign of maturity, Blum is obviously willing to meet the challenge head-on by signing this extension. After all, Hannan is in the fold now.

If you’re a Blum fan, you have to hate the situation. But you also have to love the commitment.

The official press release is below.

***

Nashville, Tenn. (September 13, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Jonathon Blum to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level.

Blum, 23 (1/30/89), played in 33 games with Nashville in 2011-12, recording seven points (3g-4a), and 48 games with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, notching 26 points (4g-22a). The 6-1, 191-pound blueliner saw his first action with the Predators in 2010-11, playing 23 regular season games before suiting up for all 12 of the team’s 2011 postseason contests, recording two assists and ranking fourth among team defensemen in average ice time (18:51). In 56 career regular season NHL contests, Blum has 15 points (6g-9a).

A native of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Blum became the first native of the Golden State to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft when Nashville selected him 23rd overall in the 2007 Entry Draft. Blum rounded out a decorated junior career with the Vancouver Giants (WHL) in 2009 by being named CHL Defenseman of the Year, and as the franchise’s all-time leader in defensive scoring (248gp, 49g-155a-204pts). During his tenure, the team claimed four division titles, two conference titles, a WHL Championship and a Memorial Cup Championship.

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PHOTO CREDIT: The Milwaukee Admirals (used with permission)