Sean Avery is an American Hockey League player. The NHL pest best known for his antics over his hockey ability hasn't played a full AHL season in about a decade, but Avery will do just that this year, as he reported to the Connecticut Whale on Tuesday.
The New York Rangers waived Avery last week after he lost a roster battle with forward Erik Christensen. Coach John Tortorella didn't sugar coat the issue one bit when the team made the decision, saying explicitly that the Rangers had "better players than Sean Avery."
In reality, it's mostly a cap move. Avery makes a lot of money for what he does, even though he does have quite a bit of actual hockey skill. Even though the Rangers were splitting his cap hit and salary with the Dallas Stars as part of having claimed him on re-entry waivers in 2009, that's still quite a bit of money to be paying for a guy like Avery -- especially when you're tight against the salary cap like the Rangers are.
The move frees up about $1.9 million in cap space for both the Rangers and Stars, and that's possibly the most interesting result of Avery reporting to Connecticut. Essentially, a Rangers roster move puts the Stars in jeopardy of falling below the salary cap floor. The extra space doesn't help Dallas at all considering they're so far below the cap that they're actually nearing the lower limit of mandatory spending, $48.3 million.
Currently, without Avery on their cap (but notably, still on their payroll), the Stars are at $48.8 million according to CapGeek. With Adam Pardy set to come off long-term injured reserve in the near future, the Stars will be forced to send another player to the AHL, and that could bring them under the floor. A move is on the horizon in Dallas, and it's been basically forced by a Rangers roster move. Fascinating stuff.