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FINAL WORD: Checking in with Milwaukee

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton chimes in on some of the club’s top prospects playing at the AHL level Fresh off his award-winning senior season at University of Wisconsin, Blake Geoffrion joined the Admirals for their AHL Playoff run. Though he was injured in his third career AHL game, how did he look in his first two?
Paul Fenton: Well, the first night I think he was feeling his way through. The pace is a lot different than playing in college, going to pro. Especially the pace of an American League playoff game. I think he adjusted to the second game and, scored a couple of goals – and really nice goals at that. His game just seemed to adjust, if that’s the way to put it. He looks very comfortable there. Unfortunately he got hurt early in Game 4, but the early looks are very positive on Blake. Another two college guys who recently joined the Admirals, Ryan Flynn and Ryan Thang. How are they adjusting to the pro game?
Fenton: Ryan Flynn played a couple of games for Milwaukee at the end of the regular season. He played Game 3 in the playoffs for the Admirals and played well. He had a couple of chances to score. He almost scored his first pro goal. He too, it’s just like all these college kids, coming in right now is a great education for them. Going into next year, to have a taste of being in the pros and to have an understanding how do things, their experience should help them coming into training camp and then we’ll just see how they do.

Ryan Thang has been really good. And talking about the adjustment, between regular season and playoffs, he’s played about a dozen games already, so he’s had a nice extended chance to see what it’s like playing at the pro level. He’s had a chance to see what it’s like in the regular season and how much higher the level gets playing in the post season. And at the same time, he’s contributed. He’s playing in our top three lines for the Admirals, plus he’s helped kill penalties and he’s bringing a great attitude to the game every night. I know he’s not new to the Admirals, but Jonathon Blum, it seems like he is getting stronger as the season goes on. Is that accurate and how would you assess his play during his first pro season?
Fenton: Jon Blum is a gamer; he was like that from the time he was 16 years old. From his developmental years in Vancouver (of the Western Hock League), he’s played in critical situations, critical games. Going to the Memorial Cup twice and winning it once has helped him in mature. This is the time of year that he really thrives. You can just see his game elevate. We talked about Jon physically not being quite strong enough yet for the NHL. But, you know what? There’s nobody smarter there than Jon Blum. His ability to read plays, to move pucks are elite and it’s only a matter of time until he gets all the rest of that, the tools, to be able to play for us. Is Blum opening up some opportunities for camp next year?
Fenton: There’s no reason to rush him, but Jon is playing himself in the contention. Can he play next year? I don’t know – kids are ready when they’re ready. We’ll find out after a summer of strength training and we’ll see how much he’s adjusted. But, there’s no question that the sense part of his game is there right now.

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