NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers looks on against the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2011 in New York City. Sean Avery was arrested in Hollywood in the early hours of August 5, 2011 for battery of a police officer who was reportedly responding to a loud party at his home. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sean Avery has been placed on waivers by the New York Rangers. Cap relief, or something more?
According to the New York Post, the team has decided to part ways with the annoying yet skilled pest of a forward. It was widely reported in the New York hockey media over the weekend that the final roster spot on the Rangers club was going to be a battle between Avery and Erik Christensen, with coach John Tortorella even explicitly outlining that battle.
My thoughts are that Avery should have easily made it on the team over Christensen. Avery came out flying in the two preseason games he was in, and he was noticeable on the ice.
As opposed to Christensen, who seemed lazy, missed wide open opportunities and was less physical than Avery. I'm not the coach, but I still believe Avery should be on this team instead of Christensen.
But the writing was probably on the wall. Avery came out flying in those first two preseason games, but "flying" also comes along with another dose of extreme controversy, in which the Ranger accused Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds of using a homophobic slur. After that incident, Avery sat in the press box as a scratch for his team's final two preseason contests.
Maybe the maneuver has nothing to do with Avery. It's possible that with his $1.9 million cap hit, as opposed to the $925,000 cap hit that Christensen comes with. With Marc Staal injured and the need for another defensemen possibly on the horizon, the $1 million in savings could be the real impetus for waiving Avery. At the same time, given those cap hits, it seems slightly more likely that Avery could clear waivers than it would for Christensen to do so.
But of course, this is Sean Avery, so this could always be more than just a shrewd business decision by Glen Sather. If he clears waivers, which we'll know by Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET, he'll likely be sent to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.