In a season chock full of interesting (and nerve-wracking) storylines, perhaps the most unexpected one to date is the sudden emergence of young defenseman Jonathon Blum. Blum, 22, is widely considered the top prospect in the top farm system in the NHL. That's not to say he's the best prospect in hockey, but it's clear Blum is highly regarded in and out of Nashville.
Until now, Blum has been seen as a slow developer, and maybe even trade bait for a team like the Oilers looking to add young defensive talent.
It's only been two games, but it's safe to say that the perception of Blum is rapidly changing.
"The good thing is Jon Blum looks like he's one helluva player," Barry Trotz said after the loss to Chicago. "He was outstanding."
In this case, it's hard to argue with Coach Trotz. Blum finished the night with 21:24 played, or third highest on the team behind Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
"It's nice to come in and see the coaches and management have confidence in me to play in this type of game," said Blum.
On multiple occasions, Blum calmly diffused Chicago scoring chances by either directing the puck out of harm's way or simply taking a Blackhawk out of the play.
"He had lots of poise, smart plays, good decisions," said Trotz.
He showed good awareness knowing when to pinch in and when not to (something Cody Franson would do well to learn), and added a much needed puck carrying ability to the second pairing.
"It's the same game, you just have to put your nerves and jitters aside," Blum stated. "It comes to you naturally."
For a team that is in dire need of a puck-moving defenseman, Jonathon Blum's play in his first two NHL games has been nothing short of revelatory. I can't think of one glaring mistake made, and his ability to carry the puck out of trouble did wonders for the game of Kevin Klein.
"He spent his time in the AHL and is making a case to stay here," Barry Trotz said. "There’s no way I wouldn’t continue to play him if he plays like that,"
For a coach that isn't often effusive in his praise of players, Trotz's comments are especially telling - Jonathon Blum is going to be an excellent hockey player.
The question is, though, does the play of Blum mean Nashville should forgo trading for another defenseman, assuming that Francis Bouillon is able to return healthy? If Blum stays in Nashville, should he get regular playing time? Sound off in the comments below.
OtF stick tap to Buddy Oakes of Preds on the Glass for the Jonathon Blum quotes. All Trotz quotes are from last night's presser, which can be listened to in it's entirety here.