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Is Sean Avery headed to the AHL?

Sep 28, 2011, 9:01 PM EDT

Sean Avery Getty Images

Hockey fans from coast to coast may have their hockey fantasies filled this season. For all of the people who have been living on Sean Avery flavored Hatorade, there’s some rather intriguing news coming out of New York. The diminutive pest has been sliding down the Rangers’ depth chart for a while—now he might be sliding all the way down to the Connecticut Whale in the AHL. Somewhere Wayne Simmonds is sitting with an evil smirk on his face.

It’s not exactly breaking news that Avery hasn’t looked great for the Rangers this offseason. He hasn’t looked awful either—which is precisely the problem. His play on the ice has been relatively invisible. For a guy who carries a $3.9 million cap hit and plays for a team that has a history of burying contracts in the minors, Avery’s player profile this preseason puts him in a precarious position.

Christopher Botta at the New York Times Slap Shot blog discusses Avery’s tenuous situation:

“Avery appears to trail Mats Zuccarello for the final forward position available and is joined in the battle for a job by the youngsters Dale Weise and Carl Hagelin and the veteran shootout specialist Erik Christensen. The Rangers possess more depth than they’ve had in years. Unless Avery shines in the team’s final five preseason games, starting Monday in Philadelphia, he could be placed on waivers and start the season with the minor league affiliate in Connecticut.”

Avery’s position is tough to figure in the NHL. When he’s walking the right side of that fine line between pest and troublemaker, he’s proven to be one of the most effective players in the league. He can simultaneously inspire his team while frustrating the opponent with his brand of hockey. Unfortunately, that style isn’t seen on a nightly basis.

More recently, Avery has either crossed the line or more likely, played uninspired hockey that makes him easily replaceable. When he’s out there and not creating havoc, then what’s the difference between him and a hungry, up-and-coming rookie who gets paid $3 million less per season? Does he bring enough to the table to justify keeping him on the roster?

That’s exactly the question Rangers management has been forced to deal with this preseason.

This wouldn’t be the first time he was forced to exit stage right from an NHL team—but this time it’s a little different. When he was traded from the Detroit Red Wings to the Los Angeles Kings, he was a young player with potential that the Kings were excited to acquire. When he was traded from the Kings—it was for the sole purpose of removing his attitude from the locker room. He proved with the Rangers that he could be a valuable player when playing with controlled emotion and parlayed it into a big free agent contract with the Dallas Stars. A “sloppy seconds” joke and a second stint on Broadway later, Avery could be looking at the end of his second chances.

He’ll have the rest of the preseason to prove that he’s a worthwhile asset to the Rangers roster. If for no other reason, it would be great to see him stick with the club through December to see his act on HBO’s 24/7. But if he doesn’t step it up, the Connecticut Whale are going to have the most expensive team in AHL history.

Maybe he could room with Wade Redden.

  1. canucks18 - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Hahahaha Avery is one pathetic loser…

    • nhlbruins90 - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:14 PM

      I’ll give you 3.9 million reasons why he’s not.

    • stakex - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:09 AM

      That “pathetic loser” makes more in a year then you will probably make in a lifetime. Whos the loser now?

      • spiffy53 - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:48 AM

        i did not know that a large bank account was the gold standard regarding who is a loser and who is not.

        signed, OJ Simpson, Bernie Madoff and Casey Anthony (after her book deal)

  2. bcisleman - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Trev Gillies would love to be able to line The Tool up in an AHL tilt. Couldn’t happen to a nicer Tool either.

  3. firemarshal1 - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    This is why guaranteed contracts don’t work in all of today’s sports leagues. The NFL has it done correctly (right). The NHL, NBA, and especially MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL (MLB) need to follow suit. The fans don’t need to be stuck with increased ticket prices for has been (over the hill) players who have no respect for the fan or for the game itself. I call it like it is. The truth sometimes hurts, but it’s the truth. GREED has NO PLACE IN Professional Sports. The real dedicated professional players aren’t bothered by my comments, because they are real people with class.

  4. ncfpoozer - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    You do realize Avery’s cap hit to the Rangers is only 1.8 and change right? He was picked up from Dallas on re-entry waivers… so half his cap is their problem.

  5. icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    It still boggles my mind that NHL teams would sign Avery. Regardless, I don’t think anyone will miss him if he gets sent down.

    • stakex - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:15 AM

      Obviously your not a Rangers fan.

      Almost all Rangers fans know how effective Avery can be. The simple fact that everyone whos not a Rangers fan hates the guy, proves that point. Its not his job the be liked, its his job to get under the skin of the other team… and score a goal from time to time. Is he worth $4 million a year? No, but hes still valuable. For that reason I would be willing to bet that Avery would not clear waivers.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        Yes, I am not a Rangers fan. FlyBoys enthusiast here! Now that we know our allegiances, we can talk some hockey. You are telling me that his teammates enjoy playing with him? I’m sure most have played some type of organized sport and he is the worse type of teammate. Everything he does is all about himself and not about the team. Idk how you can say as a Rangers fan, or a fan of hockey in general, that what he does is effective. He not only does he put himself in danger, his teammates get that same bull’s eye on their backs too. The only reason he doesn’t clear waivers if a team pulls the savior mentality. ‘We can be the team that changes his ways.’ Has that worked yet? Ask DET, LAK and DAL.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        No chance any team picks up Avery. It’s been proven the Rangers are the only team that can somewhat tolerate him. Nobody will want a repeat of the whole Dallas Stars scenario, he’s just not worth it

  6. canucks18 - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Who’s the loser? You are for having a guy like Avery being defended lkke hes your hero…. And just cause he’s got money doesn’t make him a good person/player… Obviously he isn’t as effective as you think he is mr AHL

  7. jpelle82 - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    is anyone really surprised by this anyway? he was a healthy scratch in a lot of games last year including the playoffs. he is a liability and the rangers have guys that are better and deserve a spot in the lineup more than avery does.

  8. kingjoe1 - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    It is a perfect fit, AHL stands for A$$ Hole League right?

    The only thing he has done with any class was supporting gay marriage; however I would venture a guess that -that was a very personal issue, not one done with altruism in mind.

  9. billyhoyle4real - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    @Spiffy53 yer the man.
    I’m in Buffalo and I will miss hating on the dude but what I can’t wait for is his girlfriend leaving him for some career AHL guy and him flapping his jaw about “sloppy seconds”. At least he will have more time to read Vogue and talk runway fashion with his “buddies”.

  10. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    The only thing I can say is this took long enough. I’d be perfectly happy if he’s played his last game in the NHL

  11. jemappelleguy - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    What’s all the fuss? Like the song says, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. If Avery doesn’t make it there he’ll leave, one way or another. With his ability it’s really up to him.

  12. joebarnes1 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    I stopped reading at “hatorade”

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