Blum Recalled; Set To Make NHL Debut Tonight
It’s a nice symmetrical development in Jon Blum’s career. Blum was Nashville’s first round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft – held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus – and now he’s making his NHL debut for the Preds against the Blue Jackets in Nationwide Arena.
In the three and half seasons in-between, Blum has refined his game. He’s been Milwaukee’s best defenseman this season, which is saying quite a bit seeing as the Admirals roster also boasts NHL veteran Aaron Johnson (225 career NHL games) and fellow top prospects Roman Josi
(on a 13-game scoring streak) and Teemu Laakso
(earned call-ups this season and last season).
“One of Jon’s exceptional qualities is his hockey sense and his ability to read plays and keep himself between his man and the net,” said Preds Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton. “You’re never going to see him as a bone-crusher, but you’re always going to see him on the correct side of the puck and making the right decisions. When we drafted Jon he was 160 pounds, but right now he weighs 190 pounds so, he’s grown into his body. With that he’s gaining more confidence in his strength and size.”
“Blum and Suter are very similar in the way that they think the game. Blum’s game is probably a combination of Suter and Hamhuis. Those guys are very subtle about the way they go about their business, yet they are physical and hard in the tight areas when it can almost go unnoticed. Blum fits into the mold of the defensemen that are thriving in the NHL right now, guys who can make that first pass and be very smart in their own end.”
Goaltender Swap -- Dekanich Recalled, Lindback To AHL
Today’s goaltender move – recalling Mark Dekanich from the AHL and reassigning Anders Lindback
to the AHL – is primarily about playing time. Lindback is just 22-years old and is in the midst of his first season in North America. With Pekka Rinne
on a roll, the Preds haven’t utilized a second goaltender much over the past month and half.
“We can’t forget that we’re still in development phase with Anders and it’s important for his development that he play hockey,” Preds goaltending coach Mitch Korn said. “We don’t want Anders totally watching and we have to make sure he’s ready when we need him. Also, anything that happens like this needed to be done before the Trade Deadline (Feb. 28), so we really have a small window to work with. Add all that together and this was really the last good time we had to do it.”
Also, not to be overlooked is the way Dekanich has played this season. He’s developed into one of the AHL’s elite netminders. Both Dekanich and Lindback battled competitively during Training Camp for the NHL roster spot. Initially there was talk of rotating the two goaltenders between the AHL and NHL all season, but Lindback was so strong when he got the opportunity to play that he made it too tough for the Preds to send him down, but now that Rinne has started 13 of the last 14 games the need arose to get Lindback game action.