With the lockout ending and two significant injuries on the Aeros' blue line this past weekend (Connelly and Bagnall, though we don't know the extent of Bagnall's), Aeros GM Jim Mill had some gaps to fill.
The latest one is signing Paul Mara, 33, and veteran of 734 NHL games, to a standard player contract. Mara's been with the Ontario Reign in the ECHL this season, but didn't play at all last season. His numbers look good in the Coast, though, and from what I understand, he's a tough son of a gun at a towering 6'4".
He was coached up in his earlier pro years by Torchetti when they were both in Tampa with the Lightning, so there's some familiarity there. Coach told me by text that Mara should bring some good veteran leadership to the team, which (and this is me talking) is something this team has needed, but not had room for, from the very beginning.
Moreover, he bring some grit to a team that's... well... not the scariest I've seen.
So, nice signing IMO as, really, a new day dawns for the AHL, without all the super stars in the mix. Sure going to miss watching Granlund is person, but I think the Aeros are in good shape apart from injuries (which, don't let me fool you, is a pretty big problem at the moment).