Sean Avery isn’t holding his breath waiting to be called back to the NHL. Now skating with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL, he seems to have accepted the fact he’ll be calling the Insurance Capital of the World home until next season. Sean Avery and Hartford. Together at last.
“I’m probably one of the only guys in hockey whose being paid a lot of money to play without pressure,” he told ESPNNewYork.com. “My only responsibility now is to work hard.”
Avery is in the last year of a four-year, $15.5-million contract that he originally signed with the Dallas Stars before being claimed on re-entry waivers by the New York Rangers in 2009. He was cut by the Rangers in October.
Avery still thinks he can play in the NHL. “There’s no question about that,” he said.
Of course, there’s a difference between having the ability to play in the NHL and being worth it for a team to bring aboard. Avery had three goals and 21 assists with the Rangers in 2010-11. There are bottom-six forwards with less impressive numbers. Lots of them. But most of them aren’t massive distractions.
If you were an NHL coach, would you want Avery on your team? What’s the upside risk? What’s the downside risk?
It’s not like when the Minnesota Vikings brought Randy Moss back to play with Brett Favre and it blew up in their faces. Moss was coming off three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons with the Patriots. The upside was huge.
“This is an exciting move, I think everybody feels that in the locker room,” Favre said at the time. “It’s rare you get to play with a future Hall of Famer and get to appreciate their talents up close. Randy Moss is a great player and his career speaks for itself. I’ve admired him from a distance for a long time and you can’t help but be impressed by the guy.”
Safe to say Avery wouldn’t receive that sort of welcome.