Avery hits the Big Apple
Well, given this site is one of the top Google hits for 'Sean Avery' and there's been a steady stream of related traffic since last night, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on yesterday's deal between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers.
Los Angeles gets:
Jason Ward, Marc-Andre Cliche and Jan Marek
New York gets:
Sean Avery and John Seymour
Eric Duhatschek makes the connection between Brendan Shanahan's recent comments re: officiating and this deal, something that about sums up the Rangers' side of this deal. Avery gives a team without much jam a little bit more grit, and he comes during a season where he's on pace for a career-high 42 points.
Other than that, well, he takes bad penalties and makes silly comments to the media, both traits that Kings coach Mark Crawford was able to somewhat contain this season. My guess is Avery will be able to run a little bit wild with what seems to always be a rather unfettered Rangers team.
The other player the Rangers get in the deal is a borderline prospect, a seventh rounder from 2005 who had a grand total of 21 points in four major junior seasons with the OHL's Brampton Battalion. Which is what makes the player haul the Kings received seem a bit strange.
Ward will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and will be used as a fill-in on the penalty kill and to provide some secondary scoring. A former first-round pick (1997), he's had some success at the AHL level with three 20-plus goal seasons, but hasn't ever produced consistently in the NHL.
The prize in the deal for Los Angeles is Cliche, a second-round pick who skated with the gold-medal winning Canadian world junior team in January. The Kings are looking to stockpile prospects for next season and beyond, and Cliche, who had 37 goals last season in the QMJHL, is a pretty nice pickup for a player who is essentially a perennial third liner. Only 19, Cliche has some offensive upside down the road.
Marek's another interesting acquisition, and my guess is the Rangers' difficulty in signing him is the only reason he was packaged in this deal. Currently one of the scoring leaders in the Russian elite league with Magnitogorsk, Marek's a smallish 27-year-old Czech forward who has never played in North America. Whether he'd be interested in leaving Europe for a shot at the NHL is up for debate, but he could turn into a useful pickup for the Kings.
In any event, this is likely the first of many trades for Los Angeles, who under GM Dean Lombardi are going to be building for two or three years down the road around Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson, Alex Frolov, Mike Cammalleri, Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan.
As for cap implications, there aren't really any. Avery's deal was for $1.1-million, meaning there's just more than $360,000 left this season before he's a restricted free agent. Ward makes $650,000 and is an unrestricted free agent this summer.