Its pouring cats and dogs up here in the catskill mountains so while I would normally spend my Sunday afternoon in the great outdoors, I am currently stuck in the cabin in my camp armed with only my brain and a Motorola Q. And so, I decided to write about the upcoming arbitration hearing of Sean Avery which will take place tomorrow.
A quick review, Avery, a 27 year old forward, was drafted by Detroit in 1999. in 2003 he was traded to the Kings along with Maxim Kuznetsov and 2 draft picks in return for Mathieu Schneider. Last year at the trade deadline, the Rangers traded Jason Ward and two prospects in return for him and a prospect. His move to the Rangers is labeled by many as the turning point in the Ranger's season last year as, following his acquisition, the Rangers went on a tear that catapulted them into the playoffs as the sixth seed. His play also helped the Rangers sweep the Thrashers in the first round and push Buffalo to 6 games in round 2.
Last season, Avery played a combined 84 games for the Kings and Rangers, picked up 18 goals, 30 assists and over 175 penalty minutes. He was voted by NHL players as the most hated player in hockey but this becomes obvious when watching his style of play. Avery is the typical example of an "in-your-face" player. He is known for bumping goalies and slashing opponents when the referees are not looking. He draws a lot of retaliation penalties although his style drives up his penalty minutes as well. He is fairly short, at 5 feet 9 inches but can still hold his own in a scrap and has good speed. His wrist shot is very accurate and often under-rated.
That being said, the Rangers have to be careful about how they approach this situation. Michael Peca, a very similar type player is on the market and should get 2 million per year. However, Avery is younger and generally a better, if less disciplined, player. Plus, he has a SMOKING HOT girlfriend. The preferance is to sign Avery, however, if the Rangers dont want Brendan Shanahan's 2.8 million in performance bonuses to count against next years cap, they cannot overpay him by much. There is about $4 million of free cash if the bonuses count this year, just enough to sign Avery, Hossa and extend Lunqvist if Avery comes cheap. Figure 1 million for Hossa and 5.25 for Hank, 1 million more than his current salary, and there is 2 million left for Avery. Anything up to 2.5 should be okay but if he gets 3 million, which he should not, and signing Peca looks realistic, the Rangers should walk. Michael Ryder of the Canadiens got a 1 year deal worth just under 3 million so Avery should not expect to get above 2.5 million. Hopefully, he gets around 2 million and the Rangers sign him and Hossa.
Dont expect any big moves from the Rangers camp. They should work on re-signing their players and preparing for the season. Meanwhile, I'll be hiding from the rain and waiting anxiously for your thoughts.
Till next time,