Avery, 31, has been a healthy scratch every game since Dec. 10 in Buffalo. Before then, Avery was averaging about seven minutes a game, but still managed to score three goals in 15 games. He was placed on waivers prior to the start of the season before being recalled on Nov. 1.
According to Rangers Rants, coach John Tortorella was angered by Avery bringing his mother and a family friend into the team’s dressing room.
The move was made to free up a roster spot and cap-space as Wojtek Wolski is set to rejoin the team after a groin injury he suffered in the first handful of games this season. The other nominee for demotion would be Erik Christensen, who was kept over Avery for a second time this season.
Avery spoke to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, and said he could still be an asset for a team that is willing to give him a chance, if there are any suitors out there.
“I have a lot to prove, and I have a lot of game left after not being allowed to play my game for the last four years,” Avery told the Post. “I guarantee that I’ll play my ass off and give everything I have for the team that will give me the chance I wasn’t getting [by coach John Tortorella]. The team will be getting a guy who has a lot to prove.”
Avery admits there is a lot of baggage that comes with him, but if a coach and GM could look past it, he can contribute to a new organization. “I’m hungry to prove people wrong.”
The Post said Rangers GM Glen Sather gave Avery’s agent, Pat Morris, permission to reach out to GMs around the league to see if there is any interest before reporting to the AHL. If a team does claim him, they would be on the hook for $1.036 of Avery’s contract, with the Rangers and Dallas Stars splitting the rest.
Could the New York Islanders be the place Avery finds himself? Brooks said there could be off-ice value for the winger, value that could bring people to the Coliseum.
As a big Avery supporter, I’m pretty bummed but not as saddened as I was the first time around. The team is playing its best since maybe 1996, so to complain about a player not making much of a difference would be foolish.
With that said, I think Avery could have played a large role on this team if he was ever given a chance by Tortorella. I hope he gets picked up — but not by the Islanders.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia