Monday, February 9, 2009
Source: Avery going to AHL's Hartford
By Pierre LeBrun
The Dallas Stars are expected to assign Sean Avery to the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack on Tuesday, a source told ESPN.com on Monday night.
Hartford is the main AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, the only NHL club that seems to have any interest in helping revive Avery's career.
Avery was cleared from the NHL/NHLPA counseling program last weekend, which officially put him back on the Stars' roster. Dallas then immediately put him on waivers and he cleared Monday. He will remain property of the Stars even while in Hartford until Dallas puts him on re-entry waivers and the Rangers put in a claim for him.
The Stars don't have an AHL affiliate and Stars co-GM Les Jackson was working the phones all weekend and on Monday trying to find a team. Hartford had long been the favorite because of its official ties to the Rangers.
Avery was only 23 games into a four-year, $15.5 million deal when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suspended him on Dec. 5 for making a crude remark about his ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players.
Simmering tension between Avery and his teammates and coach boiled over in the aftermath, with Dallas' dressing room united in its stance against him ever wearing a Stars sweater again.
Avery is earning $3.5 million this season and has three more years left on the deal that pays him $4 million a season. Should any NHL team claim him on re-entry waivers, it would be on the hook for half of that, with the Stars paying the other half.
In Avery's season and a half with the Rangers, the club was 50-23-13 when he played and 24-35-9 when he was out of the lineup.
"Sean is a good hockey player," Rangers head coach Tom Renney said last weekend. "He can help anybody he plays for, there's no question about that. ... This is a guy who can play and is a great teammate. He was always there for his teammates and laid it on the line every night. How can you not admire that? We had him in a good situation and we used him, I think, appropriately. The entire organization benefits by that."
Avery, acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 5, 2006, had 15 goals and 18 assists in 57 regular-season games for the Rangers in 2007-08, then added four goals and three assists in eight playoff games. He had three goals, seven assists and 77 penalty minutes in 23 games for Dallas this season.
The Stars, meanwhile, remained firm with their decision not to allow Avery back on their team.
Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.