Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum put in workout after workout this summer in Nashville with team staff.

He believed a grueling offseason routine could at least help him return to form in the upcoming year. And then when the NHL lockout started on Sept. 15, Blum's hopeful bounceback season was delayed for 113 days.

On Friday, Blum and fellow young defenseman Ryan Ellis, returned to Nashville after playing with the Predators' American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee during the lockout. Both hope to crack the Jan. 19 opening-night roster.

Forward Chris Mueller, who also spent the early part of this season with the Admirals, returned as well. Mueller notched 20 points in 34 games with Milwaukee this year. Blum had 12 points in 34 contests, and Ellis — who battled a wrist injury — had nine in 20 games.