2)Now comes the hard part for Dallas. What do they do now? Coach Tippett after the incident came out to say he didn't want Avery back. Stars owner, Hicks has blasted him publicly. Past sources have told us its a 100% chance that Avery won't don a Dallas sweater ever again! So now what?
- To unload Avery's $3.875 salary this season, the Stars could place Avery on waivers and if he clears, send him to the American Hockey League. The Stars have a partial affiliation with the Manitoba Moose and currently have five Dallas players on their AHL roster; however the Moose have made it clear they are not interested in providing a place for Avery to play. Moose owner Mark Chipman has stated, ''We wouldn't take him under any circumstance.'' We wonder if a team struggling at the gate (the Moose aren't) might take on Sean for a "conditioning stint" knowing they are guaranteed of quite a few extra fannies in the seats with Avery i the lineup?
- The trade option is available, but who would take him? A rumour floating around at the time of the suspension said the New York Rangers, were interested in dealing defenseman Michal Rozsival and his four-year, $20-million deal to Dallas in exchange for Avery. The source suggested Avery would then be sent to the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford. More on this in a moment.
- The Stars could try to find a loophole in the contract that could make Avery's contract void. A 'morals clause' or something to that effect. If that happens, expect the NHLPA to cause a huge stink about it, and that could get very ugly. A source within the NHLPA tells us that they would have to take this issue on despite the possible PR ramifications. They tell us that the team would have trouble proving the case nonetheless. Its not like Avery was arrested for molestation (yet) or something that could be misconstrued as deviant.
- They could try to place Avery on LTIR with his 'emotional issues" being the reason. The Stars still have to pay Avery the rest of this season, have him continue to go to 'counseling' with the probable intent of buying him out (at 2/3) the remaining money after the season. Sean would then be free to sign wherever he wanted. Of course Avery would have to agree on that option, and from his public persona, we doubt he'd go for that.
3) So what of the trade possibilities? Well, for one do NOT expect the Stars to get much if anything in return. A team would be doing them a huge favour to get his head ache of a contract(3 more years AFTER this one) off their hands. We asked around to see if there is any real interest in Avery. We were surprised to hear that several teams have shown at least tacit interest in adding Sean THIS season before the March 4th deadline. Most resided in the Eastern Conference. However the place where we are hearing most is in NY where Avery had his greatest success. We hear that despite the public denials by Sather and Ranger management there is definite interest.
4) Interestingly, adding to the fuel here is the fact that the NHL actually wants this to go down. We have been told by reliable sources that they (The NHL) want the Avery issue to go away and if he is dealt they can move on and not have to worry about a possible suit by Avery's agent over how the league handled the suspension/after care of his client. Insiders say that the Rangers miss the edge that Avery's presence gave the team the last couple of seasons. After missing on the Sundin sweepstakes (They should thank the Lord they did!) they have been looking to do a bit of a roster shuffle before the post season.
5) Other interested teams include the Panthers. Looking to get relatively cheaply acquired help to make the post season, Jacques martin has shown tepid interest. Chicago has also contacted the Stars in the past 2 weeks to see what it would take to get Avery. The ladder two teams have also asked for draft picks to be part of the swap as taking on Avery and his contract is "an additional negative" that would need to be compensated for. What is almost certain, we have NOT seen the last of Sean, and we very well might see him as part of a pre-trade deadline deal for a playoff bound team. The next question that will be asked: Will he help or hurt? Stay tuned!