By the time Brent Henley returns, the Fort Wayne Komets hope they've gotten out of their recent slump.
After losing their last five games, the Komets traded the veteran defenseman to the Florida Everblades Wednesday for cash considerations. Because the Komets had five veterans on the roster and are only allowed to play four, Henley sat out the last two games.
``With five vets, there was going to be somebody upset every game,'' Sims said. ``We'd have to sit out a veteran for 20 games here, and we didn't want that and have that around the team. We decided to go with the four guys we have.''
In keeping veterans Colin Chaulk, Brett Smith, Tyler Butler and Jamie Milam, the Komets decided Henley would be the player to move on. The Komets honored his request to go to a playoff team, General Manager David Franke said. Ironically, Henley and Florida will play in Memorial Coliseum on March 8 and 9.
``I could have gotten some other players, but not a defensemen or any players that we really need,'' Franke said. ``We'll use the cash we got on the next player coming in.''
Franke said he's continuing to talk to Anaheim and Norfolk about adding another defenseman and hopes to have news on that by late this afternoon.
``Forward-wise, I think we've got the people who can do the job, but maybe we need to get the puck up to them a little quicker,'' Franke said. ``While we're talking to Anaheim and Norfolk, we'll continue to pursue what we have to on our own.''
Henley, 32, was in his fourth season with the Komets and had 10 points and 145 penalty minutes in 42 games this season. He was part of two Fort Wayne championship teams. He was also very active in the community with Turnstone and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
``I'm excited,'' Henley said. ``I have an opportunity to go to a team that is doing well and hopefully I can add to that team and add to their success. I think the trade is mutually beneficial. It was time to have a fresh start. I'm assuming I opened up a roster spot for them to bring in another defenseman.
``With an extra veteran and a chance to move on, this good for me. The organization has treated me very, very well here. I won two championships and a couple of AHL call-ups, and that was all because of Al (Sims) and David (Franke). I wish them the best of luck.''
Henley said he'd love for the Komets to turn thing around and possibly meet Florida in the playoffs.
``It's obviously disappointing when you're not super-successful as a team, but I'm going to be given a chance to go to a team that is doing well,'' Henley said. ``I think Al, David and the entire organization will be looking to move things around and be successful. There are still six weeks left to regain the level they are used to and the fans are used to. I think that will happen. The year is not over for anybody.
``It's a really good group of guys. There's probably something that will unite them. Maybe it's one big win or one standout performance by somebody to turn the tide. From Al and David, all the way down, everybody here deserves to win. Hopefully that happens.''