State of the Rangers

Last Chance Saloon for Avery?

Much is being discussed about the vacant penthouse suite in the Rangers neighbourhood. Of course, the vacant suite under discussion is in fact the left wing spot alongside resident elite forwards Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. Many fans and even Rangers media (Stan Fischler for example) have touted Sean Avery as a good choice for the left wing spot. Is he a good choice?

Avery is entering into his final year as a Ranger and given the underwhelming recent performances (to put it mildly) from the ‘Grate one’ and his reputation as an ego driven, bottom six forward, many may not deem him suitable for such a sought after position as top line left wing. However, on closer inspection, maybe Avery is a legitimate candidate for a spot on the top line.

Avery’s game can make space for his line mates and he has certainly, repeatedly displayed his ability to command attention on the ice. Indeed, on the odd occasion (used very sparingly together), Marian Gaborik has previously benefitted from Avery’s presence on his line. Avery plays the corners, plays physical, and is good on the forecheck. He makes opposing defenseman want to knock his lights out. His style could lend itself to the Rangers top line. This is all without considering the chemistry Avery and his friend Brad Richards may have together. Don’t underestimate how a friendship could transfer to the ice.

There is also the issue of Avery being at the ‘last chance saloon’. There is a legitimate chance that if Avery cannot extend his stay in New York beyond this coming season then his NHL career could be over. His ‘stay’ in Dallas was a disaster, his stay in LA wasn’t a marriage made in heaven either, and he’s not well liked around the league – one hell of an understatement. If Avery gets released by the Rangers after this season he may not get another chance and if he did, the GM that takes him on will be staking his reputation on a very volatile personality.

Avery needs a productive year in New York this coming season if he wants to avoid applying for more Vogue internships sooner than intended. Avery needs to convince Coach Tortorella that he is worth more than 6, 7 minutes per game. Avery needs to find that infamous line again and play on the edge. Avery at his best can be a good fit on the top line, but will Tortorella give him the chance? It’s up to Avery to force him.

He doesn’t need to score 30 goals or 50+ points on the line to be successful there. He needs to contribute, but above all be a presence and provide Richards and Gaborik a platform to succeed. IF he gets a chance.

Avery has always had an affinity with New York and it seems like the only NHL location that can support everything Avery is, both on and off the ice. Avery needs to focus all his energy on his profession this summer. If he succeeds it would also be a win for the Rangers. An effective $1.9m (cap hit) top line winger? Every team would like such a bargain.

Avery panning out in the role also means the Rangers don’t have to look outside of the organisation thus saving them additional dollars and/or assets required to bring someone else in. Avery is most certainly in the last chance saloon and it’s in everyone’s interest that he finds his way out of there and back into hockey relevance.

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  1. I just wrote about this on another messageboard the other day. This is a make or break year for Avery’s NHL career.

    All in all, I just don’t see how Torts gives Avery top line minutes… which by the way will be enormous this year given that BR & Gabs will be together. Torts showed all last season that he barely could trust playing him 4th line minutes, given the constant bonehead mistakes Avery would make.

    I personally route for the guy and hope he succeeds, but I’m not sure he can do it under Torts.

  2. I agree with much of what you say, but Avery simply doesn’t have the offensive tools to play on the first line and produce consistently. Avery is what he is at this point – a sometimes effective yet unreliable 3rd/4th line player and no more. He can skate, fore-check, play physical, but, not only does he have a poor shot but he has difficulty getting it off in traffic. Yes, he is a crease crasher and will likely pick up some garbage goals but Wolski, MZA, and Fedotenko are all better options than Avery at this point.

    1. I would love to see fedotenko play his style on this line, I just don’t think he has the wheels for top line minutes any more – if he ever did. But definitely a go-to guy to fill in an pick up an extra shift here and there when coach gets that itch to move some pieces around mid-game.

      1. I’m with you – I’d love to see Feds and BR generate the same chemistry they had in Tampa Bay, but Feds seems like he’s a step behind his old pace. He should spend some time with Barb Underhill and see if he can get a spring back in his stride! Otherwise I’d have to put my money on Dubi, who is much more of a banger/grinder than Wooly and MZA.

  3. I think Avery gets a few games there if the Rangers slump and that line needs a sparkplug. Avery will definitely do the dirty work along the boards, which is what Dubinsky would do also.

  4. Richards has spoken so much about his “friendship” with Avery…I am offically concerned!!!

    I think the only way it happens is if Richards asks Torts to give him a shot at it in pre-season. It is not a crazy idea, but I think I agree it will be short term sparkplug situation.

  5. I agree with Dave. Avery will probably get a few games there, but he won’t be the answer. Avery is too inconsistent, doesn’t have the backing of the locker room, shoots from bad angles, and is constantly off-sides on transition rushes. You can overlook all of that for a third or fourth liner, but not for your go to line.

    However, I agree with your points on what Avery can do (which was very well written BTW), I just have a hard time seeing him actually execute it all on a consistent basis.

    If there’s one thing I wish Avery would do, it would be to stop throwing extra punches at a guy who is already on his back. It’s a punk move.

  6. Torts doesn’t like avery. Gabby slumps all season gets most of his goals off Avery assists and coach has him stapled to the bench. You get what you get with avery.

    The title of this should be last chance for j torts.

    He has the lineup he wanted now he needs to deliver.

      1. I’m tryin to get to the sin bin again.

        Send an offer sheet to stamkos.

        Messier was overrated.


  7. Avery will be given a shot only because he is BR’s friend. After that he may get a shift or two, to get things going, but won’t last on the top line. Wolski is the man that will skate with the first line, it will be his last chance because if he can’t make it with these two, who can he make it with? After all fails, Zucc wil get his chance, and so on, until Tort’s gets what he is looking for as a line. Me, I’d like Dubi with the line, but he has the chemistry with Cali, and AA, would hate to break that unit up, but if it’s in the best interest of the team, well so be it.

  8. There was a time when Avery Jagr and Shannahan were on the PP. Actually those were the days Avery was screening blowdeur. I like Aves and wish he would get in the face of his opponents and do stupid shit. No sarcasm. The only time this season he did that was here:

    Avery can only score garbage goals but if he could stay in the goalies face where he belongs and Gabby and Richards can shoot from the top of the circles, he definitely can find the back of the net if Richards and Gabby don’t.

    But that can only happen if Torts let’s Avery loose, and Torts seems reluctant to play dirty. Maybe we need Reg Dunlop as our coach.

  9. I have been a Ranger Fan my whole Life will die a Ranger Fan. Ranger fans are super loyal but sometimes Brain Dead if you think Sean Avery is a good NHL player then you guys really don`t know anything about Hockey the reason he get`s no minutes is because he sucks. But if you think 3Goals for a forward is good then I`m an idiot and I`m sorry. You guys booed Steve Vickers but love Sean Avery.

  10. Avery will be given a shot just like every mentioned so far. There are going to be slumps throughout the year. Also, different teams might require a certain left winger for that particular match up. Probably the person who creates the most space, will be “knighted” the most.

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