Aaron Boogaard still is mourning the death of his older brother, Derek, but on Monday, Boogaard was overjoyed to be back in a safe haven.
Boogaard, a former Wild draft pick, arrived in Houston for the start of Aeros training camp. If all goes to plan, Boogaard should receive a work visa by Friday and sign a two-way contract with the Wild's American Hockey League affiliate.
"A couple months ago I thought I'd probably never play again," said Boogaard, 25, a tough guy who has played four minor-league seasons. "Me and my family couldn't be more ecstatic. It's almost a starting point for us. After all this court stuff, I don't think any of us have had an opportunity to grieve the loss of Derek yet."
Derek Boogaard died May 13 because of a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkiller, Oxycodone. In July, Aaron Boogaard was charged with a felony count of third-degree sale of a controlled substance and interfering with a death scene, which is a gross misdemeanor.
Boogaard still faces charges, but Friday, he says a judge signed off to allow him to leave Minnesota. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 6.
Earlier this month, Aaron brother, Ryan, told the Star Tribune that Derek never overcame an addiction to painkillers despite twice going to rehab.
"People can think what they want about me, but you have to live it to have a weird understanding of things," Aaron Boogaard said Monday. "If you don't have to deal with someone who has an addiction, you're fortunate. This was a little brother trying to protect a big brother, but at the end of the day, you look at your big brother like he's your Superman, like your idol.
"It's unfortunate that I had to ride shotgun to the selfishness of my brother's addiction."
Aeros GM Jim Mill, who doubles as the Wild's assistant to the GM, said the Wild's trying to be compassionate to a beloved former player's brother.
"We want to give Aaron an opportunity to continue his hockey career," Mill said. "We're trying to help him out."
Boogaard tried out for the Aeros last season before spending 53 games with Laredo in the Central Hockey League.
"If that happens again, that's fine. I just can't say enough things for what the Wild's done," Boogaard said. "It just shows what a class organization the Wild are. They are filled with good people who want to push people in the right direction."
• Veteran defenseman Nick Schultz will make his preseason debut Tuesday against St. Louis after suffering from post-concussion syndrome this summer.
Schultz says he's now symptom free.
"It was a couple months where I couldn't do anything," Schultz said. "We talked to some doctors and we thought it would be good to ease back into it and get some practices under my belt."
• Defenseman Mike Lundin is having a frustrating start to his Wild career. The former Apple Valley High School star suffered back spasms right from the first scrimmage and has been held off the ice for more than a week.
"It's gotten a little worse each day," he said. "We're taking some time to make sure it's something that doesn't hang around all season. You work all summer to be in the best shape you can be, and now you're sidelined."
• With Brad Staubitz suspended, coach Mike Yeo said Brett Bulmer will play against the Blues.
Yeo said every day that roster hopefuls Bulmer, Casey Wellman, Marco Scandella, Justin Falk and Nate Prosser "come to the rink is an opportunity to prove themselves. Their situations can change from day to day -- good or bad."