Jonathon Blum’s first career NHL came at a pretty good time. It gave the Nashville Predators a 2-1 lead with a little more than 12 minutes to play Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“It was a big goal for the team, I think,” he said.
In comparison to other Predators’ first-round draft picks, it also pretty much was right on schedule.
That game (Nashville eventually won 3-2) was the fourth in the budding career of the Predators’ 2007 first-round choice.
When he was recalled last week and made his debut at Columbus, Blum became the ninth different first-round selection drafted by Nashville to play in an NHL game for the team. One was a goalie (Brian Finley, 1999). The other seven all were skaters (five forwards, two defensemen) and five of those seven needed five games or fewer to score their first goals.
Scott Hartnell (2000) and Ryan Suter (2003) were the exceptions.
Suter needed — by far — the most time. He did not get a goal until his 31st NHL game, but he was the only one of the bunch who had a point (an assist) in his NHL debut. In fact, he had four assists in his first seven contests.
Alexander Radulov (2004), not surprisingly, was the quickest. He scored in his second appearance.
• Dan Hamhuis (2001)
• Scottie Upshall (2002)
• David Legwand (1998)
• Colin Wilson (2008)
One other Predators’ first-rounder, defenseman Ryan Parent (2005), also has been an NHL player. He made his debut with the Philadelphia Flyers, and it took a whopping 84 games over parts of four seasons before he finally celebrated a score.
Blum got it over with when he held in a puck just inside the blue line and sent it toward the net through a thicket of teammates and opposing players. He did not necessarily aim for the net. Instead, he just wanted to get it past the nearest Blue Jacket.
Somehow it got through all of the traffic and found its way into the net.
“He was just putting the puck through the lane,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He wasn’t trying to overpower anybody — he was just trying to get it through.”
It turned out to be his time.
• Steve Sullivan will consult a specialist later this week as the Predators work to get their veteran forward healthy enough to play down the stretch.
Sullivan was put on injured reserve over the weekend after a reoccurrence of a groin injury, which also sidelined him from Dec. 26 through Feb. 5. Groin issues have been a fairly consistent issue for Sullivan throughout his career.
“We’ll have more of an update, probably, at the end of the week,” General Manager David Poile said. “If it’s good news, maybe he’s back after this road trip. But we’re cautious in saying that. So I think it might be a little bit longer than that.”
• Nashville prospect Taylor Beck was named the Ontario Hockey League’s player of the week Monday.
Beck had four goals and nine assists with a plus-4 rating in four games last week for the Guelph Storm. He started the week with a career-high six points, including the game-winning goal, on Feb. 21.
Beck, a 19-year-old forward and a third-round draft choice (70th overall) in 2009, is currently sixth in the OHL in scoring with 85 points in 55 games.