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Annual Report Card: Jonathan Blum

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua

May 22, 2013

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua


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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua

Jonathon Blum blasted onto the scene in the 2010-2011 season, but showed signs of regression in his sophomore campaign. Still, expectations for the young American defensemen were high going into the 2012-2013 season. Roman Josi was touted to replace Suter on the top pairing, but could Blum fill Josi’s role on the second defensemen pairing?

From one year to the next:

Blum had three goals, four assists, and a -14 plus/minus in the 2011-2012 season. The offensive numbers were respectable, but the -14 was alarming.

His offensive output for this season was similar to 2011-2012, despite averaging over three less minutes per game. He finished the season with one goal, seven points, and a -1 plus/minus. His one goal output for the season was disappointing, especially considering he registered 26 shots on goal. His plus/minus improved dramatically, a sign that he shored up some of the defensive lapses.

Beyond the Stats:

Blum’s passing was above-average and led to multiple scoring opportunities that did not show up on the stat sheet. On a different season, he might have ended up with twice as many points. The pucks just didn’t bounce the right way often for Nashville this season, and that showed in the stat sheet for all players, including Blum.

On the defensive side, Blum often looked uncomfortable on the ice, however he faced the challenge of playing with a myriad of defense partners throughout the season. Spending most of his time with Hal Gill and Ryan Ellis, the revolving door made it difficult for him to develop any chemistry with his linemates. In addition, the team struggled as a whole, making it difficult for individuals to truly succeed.

The Best of Blum:

Blum had two games in which we scored two points, so we will call it a tie. The first came in February when the Preds torched the Blues in St. Louis and Blum contributed two assists. The second was against Colorado in the infamous “Matt Duchene offsides” game, where he registered a goal and an assist.

The Future:

Blum is only 24 years old, but his window of opportunity with the team may be closing soon. Four of Nashville’s defensive spots should be locks next year: Weber, Josi, Klein, and Gill. This leaves only two or three spots remaining. Victor Bartley showed that he can be a serviceable NHL defenseman if called upon. Ryan Ellis has been inconsistent but has arguably higher upside. Mattias Ekholm is itching for an opportunity to prove his value at the NHL level.

The 2013-2014 season will be the most important season in Blum’s young career. If he rises to the challenge, he can help solidify the team’s uncharacteristically shaky defense core and add punch to the attack. If he falters, he might find himself in Milwaukee or looking for a new team to call home. Seeing how he will work under new Assistant Coach Phil Housley will also be a major factor

FINAL GRADE:

It’s possible that expectations for Blum were set to unobtainable levels. His season was a mixed bag, yet overall underwhelming. At times, he showed the offensive spark which Nashville desperately needs from their defensemen. Too often, however, he made critical defensive mistakes in key parts of games. Blum’s season was not a disaster, just disappointing. We give him a C-.