The front right now has to be Woltek Wolski, who was acquired by the Rangers last January from the Phoenix Coyotes for defenseman Michael Rozsival. The enigmatic 24-year-old winger has all the skill in the world, but cannot seem to put it together every night. This inconsistency coupled with his high-priced $3.8 million contract have made him the center of the buyout talks that could begin in the next two weeks.
If Wolksi is bought out, one player who could potentially fit the bill is Sean Avery, as Nick Montemagno at Blueshirt Banter points out.
Richards and Gaborik are skilled guys – finesse players – so you won’t necessarily see them digging in the corners all of the time. Avery will do that, and in addition to the dirty work, he will keep up with Richie and Gabby and move the puck as well. Avery’s capabilities are overlooked by many, and I think he is much more talented than he is given credit for. If he skates on the Richards-Gaborik line, trust me, you will see why.
Montemagno makes a great point. Last year we saw Avery possibly play his best games as a Ranger, though his stats would say otherwise. Avery show his speed and forechecking ability could convert to offense when paired with the right players. He played very well with Gaborik last season, but head coach John Tortorella never really let the duo continue to grow past a game or two, before sending Avery back to the seven minutes a game and the fourth line.
It’s no secret Avery and Tortorella don’t have the best relationship, but Avery showed last year he can be an important piece to this team, when he’s balancing his play with his head as well as his heart.
Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said the team won’t be shopping for another high-skilled winger to compliment the team’s two stars.
Tortorella is infamous for shuffling lines, so don’t expect any combination to be set in stone between October and April, but he’d be foolish not to give Avery a chance on the top-line, especially since the team doesn’t have many other options.
Does Sean Avery deserve a shot alongside Gaborik and Richards? Let me know in the comments.
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