Two months ago, Aeros defensemen were dropping like flies to injury ... and it looked like the team was going to slip away from the back just as the team was losing some very talented forwards to the NHL after the lockout.
But Steven Kampfer started to play well, and Jim Mill plucked Paul Mara from the ECHL and Kyle Medvec was recalled from the Orlando Solar Bears. Kris Fredheim was steady and Chay Genoway provided some puck movement to keep the team alive and well in the Western Conference playoff chase.
Now, in a move to free up some room in the organization, the Wild traded one of those blueliners, who just a few months ago provided life support to a team hemorrhaging players left and right.
Goodbye, Chay Genoway.
He was a healthy scratch in three of the last four games, all on the road, so most just assumed injury. But on Thursday, the Wild dealt Genoway to the Capitals for a conditional seventh round pick. The Aeros lose their second-best d-man, from a production standpoint, for virtually nothing (as far as the Aeros are concerned).
But there was room to do it for a pick, so they did it. Marco Scandella is healthy again, Brian Connelly, too, is back from a gruesome shoulder injury. And Tyler Cuma said on Twitter that he expects to be cleared to play soon enough.
During the stretch where the Aeros were on the road for 17 of their last 21, Genoway played in 17 of those games. He did not score a goal, but he contributed with six assists and was plus-six as the Aeros went 12-8-0-1.
Yes, the Aeros will miss Genoway, but there are plenty of defenseman in Houston with much to prove, and that, partly, is what made the blueliner expendable.
Here is a high-level look at what the Aeros' main blueliners have done in the last 21 games:
2 Paul Mara 16 games 1G/5A +4
4 Drew Bagnall 8 games 0G/1A -2
6 Marco Scandella 6 games 0G/2A +1
7 Kris Fredheim 20 games 0G/2A -5
8 Kyle Medvec 21 games 3G/1A +2
10 Brian Connelly 4 games 0G/4A E
23 Steven Kampfer 21 games 1G/8A +9
61 Tyler Cuma 3 games 0G/1A +1
39 Chay Genoway 17 games 0G/6A +6