Jonathon Blum apparently made some kind of first impression.
Coach Barry Trotz said Thursday, following Blum’s second NHL appearance, “there’s no way that I wouldn’t play him if he continues to play like that.”
Now, it seems, there is no choice.
Defenseman Alexander Sulzer was traded to the Florida Panthers on Friday for a conditional 2012 seventh-round pick. The move left Nashville with six defensemen on the active roster, including Blum.
Sulzer was scratched from Thursday’s game against Chicago (a 3-0 defeat) in exchange for Blum, the Predators’ 2007 first-round draft pick (23rd overall) who was recalled from Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Blum played more than 21 minutes against the Blackhawks, an increase of more than five minutes over his NHL debut two nights earlier. He had two shots on goal, two blocked shots, two hits and two takeaways.
At the time of his recall he was ninth among AHL defensemen with 34 points, (eight goals, 24 assists). He spent all of last season – his first as a professional – with the Admirals and finished with 41 points (11 goals, 30 assists) and a plus-17 rating in 80 games.
“[Blum] has spent his time in the American Hockey League and he’s making a case for being here,” Trotz said.
Sulzer was part of the Predators’ defense-heavy draft of 2003, which also yielded Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Kevin Klein. The third-round pick (92nd overall) has been a part-time NHL player for the past two seasons. In 31 appearances in 2010-11 he had one goal, three assists and a minus-5 rating.
Nashville, which is back in action Saturday at Dallas, will receive the Panthers’ 2012 seventh-round selection if Sulzer appears on Florida’s reserve list at any time next season.