Pair of former Preds sign with divisional foes

Defenseman Jonathon Blum and forward Matt Halischuk no longer became a part of the Nashville Predators organization July 5 — the first day of free agency. The former Predators were pushed out of the lineup often due to either a lack of performance or being surpassed by others. It was an easy decision to allow the unrestricted free agents to walk and sign with another NHL franchise.

Thursday, Blum and Halischuk are now a part of the Minnesota Wild and the Winnipeg Jets, respectively, after signing a one-year, two-way contracts worth $650,000 at the NHL level and $250,000 at the AHL level each.

The Predators selected Jon Blum 23rd overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. His first NHL season on the back end was solid during the 2010-11 campaign. Blum was instrumental on the Preds' third d-pair during the 2011 playoffs, allowing the organization to advance past the first round for the first time in its history.

Unfortunately, the following seasons for Blum wasn't too kind to him. His defensive responsibilities were being unfulfilled on some nights, while his offensive production from the point declined. 

The Long Beach, California native scored 22 points (7g, 15a) with a -7 rating in 91 games with the Predators.

Acquired via trade from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Jason Arnott, Matt Halischuk has been an excellent fit on the fourth line under Barry Trotz. Halischuk is an extremely hard worker and he showed that last season. Sent down to Milwaukee for a conditioning assignment, Halischuk responded well once he returned to the Preds' lineup. He took it as a wakeup call to improve his game.

In 136 career games in Nashville over the past three seasons, the Toronto native posted 51 points (24g, 27a). 

The Predators will see the Jets and Wild six times each next season due to the divisional realignment.

(Photo by: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)