The Minnesota Wild waived veteran blueliners Justin Falk and Jonathon Blum on Monday for the purpose of sending them to AHL Iowa.
Falk, 25, has appeared in in 129 NHL contests, the majority of them with the Wild. He spent last season with the New York Rangers — where he played 21 games, but spent most of his time in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse — before re-joining Minnesota this summer on a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 at the NHL level.
Blum, also 25, is a former Nashville first-round pick that spent last season with the Wild. A veteran of over 100 NHL contests, Blum appeared in 15 games for the Wild last year and was a good offensive blueliner in Iowa, racking up 29 points in 54 games.
This summer, Blum re-upped with the Wild on a one-year deal worth $675,000.
If you’ve paid attention to the Minnesota Wild at all the past couple of seasons, chances are you’ve already heard about defenseman Mathew Dumba.
Dumba was the Wild’s first-round pick in 2012, seventh overall, out of Red Deer and was selected in hopes of becoming an eventual stud on a Minnesota blue line that desperately needed one. Now two years later, the Wild have Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin leading the way, and Dumba has gotten a taste of what the NHL is like after playing 13 games last season before being sent back to juniors.
Now that he’s grown up, his time in junior hockey is at an end. In 26 games with the Portland Winterhawks last season, he had 24 points. He added another 18 points in 21 playoff games and showed that not only was his defensive game strong, but his ability to generate offense was as well.
That kind of development is what the Wild are hoping will turn him into a regular on the Minnesota blue line right away. Outside of Suter and Brodin, the rest of the defense leaves the door open for Dumba to jump in.
Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, and Keith Ballard make up what will likely be part of the next three spots. That leaves Dumba, Jonathon Blum, Stu Bickel and rookie Christian Folin to compete for the other starting spot, as well as the reserves.
As it is, Ballard and Blum bounced in and out of the lineup last season with Blum going between the AHL and NHL regularly. Bickel spent all of last season in the AHL and Folin is fresh out of UMass-Lowell in Hockey East.
If nothing else, the opportunity is there for Dumba to seize the day and make the team right out of training camp. At 20 years old, it may be daunting for the Wild to add another young guy to the blue line, but if his skills are up to it and his development won’t suffer – it may be his time to shine.
The Minnesota Wild signed two former first-round draft picks on Friday, each to two-way contracts. Defenseman Jonathon Blum’s two-way deal is for one year while forward Jordan Schroeder’s goes for two seasons, according to the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff.
Schroeder (pictured) was selected 22nd overall in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Schroeder, 23, has appeared in 56 NHL games, including scoring six points in 25 games last season (all with the Canucks).
Blum, 25, was the 23rd pick of the 2007 draft by the Nashville Predators. He has been cycling between the AHL and NHL the past two seasons, including this past campaign in the Minnesota Wild organization. He scored one assist in 15 games with Minnesota and managed 29 points in 54 games with the Iowa Wild.
Neither player has panned out at the NHL level just yet, but both are still young. Some Wild fans might be at least a little bit excited about Schroeder coming to town, too: