According to Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants, the Rangers’ coaching staff split the camp into three ‘teams’ today, as training camp begins to wind down in North America and the club heads across the pond for the final three pre-season games in Europe. Team 1 was comprised mostly of guys we won’t hear about until next training camp; Team 2 will be headed to Hartford; Team 3 appears to be the 2011-12 New York Rangers.
Sean Avery has found himself in Team 2, which doesn’t bode well for No. 16.
Not much else news. Personally, I’m pulling for Avery to make the team, as I believe he brings more to the team than headaches. It’s no secret, though, that Tortorella isn’t high on Avery, and never has. Probably never will be, for that matter. But it is a mistake to send Avery to the minors right from the start of the season, namely because once he’s down there, he won’t be back up. Avery would have to pass through waivers to be brought back up, and with a pretty low contract, don’t be surprised if a team takes a shot at claiming him.
The obvious replacements for Avery would be Mats Zuccarello (who was in Team 3) and Dale Weise, who scored in last night’s preseason game against the Devils. I’m all for Zuccarello making the team, but it would be in a limited role on the third of fourth line, which doesn’t help him much playing with a limited offensive role.
I’m still just not sold on Weise making this team better, especially in the same spot MZA would be in. I don’t believe he brings much more in terms of offense than Avery does, especially on the forecheck. Sure, he’s a bit tougher than Avery in terms of fighting, but with Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp on the team, Avery doesn’t have to fight anyone at all.
Avery still has the ability to get under the opposition’s skin, and don’t undermine that quality. Here’s to the Grate One making the Rangers this season.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamiaTHW