The New York Rangers have to trim their roster down to 24 players by Wednesday, and there's going to be a significant amount of drama in Coach John Tortorella's decision.
When Sean Avery's involved, when isn't there drama? From Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News:
The team must cut down to 24 players by Wednesday, and John Tortorella said in a conference call from Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday that Erik Christensen and Sean Avery are vying for that final spot.
"As far as the forwards are concerned, we'd like to just carry 13," Tortorella said. "We're still going not sure who that 13th forward is. It's obviously Erik (Christensen) and Sean (Avery) battling for that spot."
Christensen is signed for this season at $925,000. Avery is in the last year of his deal at $1.938 million (with the Dallas Stars still picking up the rest of the tab).
Yes, it's impossible to separate the more salacious aspects of Avery's game (and controversial aspects of his life) from his play on the ice. But he's a tenacious forechecker who can provide a some offense down the lineup. As Avery backer Larry Brooks handicapped the two last week:
Sean Avery, who clearly has the highest ceiling of anyone else in the equation; Erik Christensen, whose role has been marginalized by the addition of Brad Richards.
From a pure drama standpoint, the Avery cut would be fascinating. Would anyone claim him on waivers? Would he settle for a stint with the Connecticut Whale in the AHL?
Can you imagine Sean Avery with any other NHL team than the Rangers?
Meanwhile, one of the best stories to emerge from the preseason could be with the Rangers: Brendan Bell, a defenseman whose last NHL game was on April 11, 2009, survived the last cuts and may have made the team. Check out this Steve Zipay piece on how Bell reclaimed his game while exiled in the Swiss League.