The Minnesota Wild’s Jonathon Blum has decided not to re-sign a deal that would likely leaves him in the AHL next season and will instead be headed to the KHL to play for Admiral Vladivostok, first reported by Igor Eronko. He’ll join former NHLers Oskars Bartulis, Nikita Filatov and Bergfots Niclas on the team.
The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo later confirmed from Blum’s side that Eronko’s report was correct.
Russo had reported earlier in the summer that the Wild were likely shopping Blum, who is currently a restricted free agent. The hope was to give Blum a fresh start with another team where he could find himself a little higher up the depth chart. With the emergence of Matt Dumba and Christian Folin, the addition of Mike Reilly and the team’s high hopes for Gustav Olofsson, Blum wasn’t working his way up the depth chart as much as getting tamped down.
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 7, 2015
Last season he got into just four NHL games, providing an assist and three shots for the Wild. In his two seasons with the Wild, he never was able to make his NHL opportunities stick, playing just 19 total games for the Wild.
It’s tough to make a NHL gig stick for a player like Blum, whose best asset is his offensive ability and without the usage that gives him those opportunities, it’s tough to show his worth at the NHL level. Yet, it’s tough when you’re getting a call-up like he was to expect the kind of offensive-minded usage that might help him succeed.
#mnwild RFA defenseman Jon Blum confirms he has signed w/ Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL. Thanks the "amazing" fans of MIN & especially Iowa
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) August 8, 2015
With the Iowa Wild, where he did get that kind of usage, he had a lot of success last season. He finished second on the team in points behind center Tyler Graovac, posting 12 goals and 25 assists in 66 games. While he wasn’t climbing the ranks for the NHL club, his departure is a big loss for the last place Iowa Wild.