In lieu of a depleted Wild blueline thanks to an injury to Marco Scandella, veteran defenceman Paul Mara has signed a minor-league deal with the Houston Aeros, the AHL affiliate to the Minnesota Wild.
Mara, 33-years old, last played in the NHL in the 2010-11 season, splitting it between the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks where he would play in 53 games, registering 1 goal and six points while racking up 88 minutes in penalties.
The former first round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning has played with six different NHL clubs and is now hoping that a Wild team in need of some help on the back end will give him another shot at the NHL.
A big body at 6-foot-4-inches and 210 pounds, Mara won’t light up the score sheet like he once did but can rather provide some stay at home coverage while playing a bruising game. His best days appear to be behind him. His career year was in 2005-06 when he played for the Phoenix Coyotes. That season he played in 78 games and picked up 15 goals and 32 assists, good for 47 points. Aside from that year he’s only surpassed the 40 point total one other season.
But should Mara play his way on to the Wild roster, he won’t be there for his offensive ability. Ryan Suter was recently brought to town to shoulder most of that load and Tom Gilbert will also pitch in. Instead, Mara will be fighting for the sixth spot on the blueline and even then nothing is a guarantee.
Recently Dakota did an in-depth look at the Wild’s defensive dilemma, in which he presents the option of signing Kurtis Foster and having him return to Minnesota. The Mara signing likely takes that possibility off the table.
Dakota also looked at how the Wild may have to make some trades in order to better accomodate the need for another defencemen given they are at 49 of the maximum 50 contracts allowed. It’s believed that Nick Palmieri will get a pro-contract, leaving Mara in the minors where he’ll need to battle his way to the top.
Either way, Mara or Palmieri, the Wild may have to make some room on the roster via trades and as they happen we’ll keep you posted right here at Gone Puck Wild.