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.
Aaron Ekblad has been medically cleared by Florida Panthers doctors, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.
The 20-year-old has since been back on the ice working out.
“Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”
The first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Eklbad had already dealt with at least one concussion during his playing career. He suffered one in an international exhibition game during the summer of 2014, just prior to his outstanding rookie season with the Panthers.
It didn’t take long for one of the top picks at this year’s draft to be sent packing from training camp.
On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that Logan Brown — the 11th overall selection in June — has been sent back to his junior team in OHL Windsor.
Brown, the son of ex-NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, played in Monday’s exhibition win over Toronto and scored once. He didn’t play in Tuesday’s OT loss to Buffalo.
Though he wasn’t expected to make the team this season, Brown, 18, is considered to be a high-end prospect, which makes his early dismissal a bit curious.
At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has terrific size and the Sens wasted little time locking him in after the draft, signing him to a three-year, entry-level deal in August.
Related: Get to know a draft pick — Logan Brown
Dennis Seidenberg is expected to sign with the New York Islanders after the World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, per Dreger.
Seidenberg is currently playing a significant role for Team Europe, a surprise finalist against the heavily favored Canadians.
The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.
Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.
He’ll likely take on a bottom-pairing role with the Islanders, below Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk, and Calvin de Haan. He may even be the extra defenseman, pushing the likes of Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield for a spot in the lineup.
Related: Seidenberg shocked by Bruins’ decision
New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.
On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.
He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.
Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.
Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.
(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)
Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.
Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.