Previewing the Predators’ defense for 2011-12, part two…
- Updated: August 23, 2011
THIS IS THE SEVENTH IN OUR MULTI-PART SERIES PREVIEWING THE 2011-12 NASHVILLE PREDATORS ROSTER. A NEW INSTALLMENT WILL BE POSTED DAILY, THROUGH AUGUST 26.
PROJECTED PAIRING #2 || Jon Blum – Kevin Klein
Jon Blum was among those in the first round of training camp cuts last summer. Things did not look good for the former first round pick. But, after starting the AHL season with 34 points in 54 games, the Long Beach, California native earned himself a call-up. Once he got to Nashville he never looked back. He played sound, safe defense in his first three NHL contests and then found the scoresheet for the first time (via a go-ahead goal) on February 27. He would go onto record three goals and five assists but, more importantly, he would catch the attention of the coaching staff. Head Coach Barry Trotz even projected Blum as the team’s number three blueliner shortly after the season ended. And that was before Cody Franson was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs. With a full NHL training camp in store for “Blummer,” his contributions should only improve and that’s good news for a Predators organization who really needs one of the younger defensemen to step up right now. Depending on which prospects make the big club out of camp, Blum should see an expanded role on the second powerplay unit as well, having shown decent production at every level he’s played at.
2011-12 PREDICTION: 23 points
Kevin Klein is the only Nashville Predator defenseman signed after this year. Chew on that for a minute. Klein catches the ire of Preds fans everywhere on a regular basis. But, curiously, sometimes he can become their greatest hero. Like when he stuck up for Marcel Goc after he was boarded from behind by Dan Carcillo. Or, in the playoffs, when Corey Perry took two too many shots at Pekka Rinne’s glove. You can’t deny he’s a team player. Matter of fact, it might be his best attribute. With Shane O’Brien gone and Francis Bouillon a huge question mark due to concussion issues, Klein might have to be the tough guy in the Nashville end. Either way, Klein had a career year in the production department last season. His 18 points were his most at any level since recorded a whopping 42 with the Milwaukee Admirals back in 2005-06. If Klein can continue to improve on the scoresheet and mentor a young Jon Blum, the second defensive pairing should be good to go. Klein will have to keep his mistakes to a minimum, however.
2011-12 PREDICTION: 17 points
PHOTO CREDIT: Bridget Samuels