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McKenzie: Stars can take time with Avery

Bob McKenzie
2/9/2009 8:59:10 PM
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The first thing you should know is the Dallas Stars don't absolutely have to do anything with Sean Avery right now.

They could continue to pay him to not play on their team this season and just wait until the summer buyout period to be rid of him. If the Stars were to do that, you could argue they immediately benefit in terms of the salary cap. as long as Avery is in the minors, he doesn't count against the cap.

If Dallas buys out Avery in the off-season, it will cost them $8 million to do so with a cap hit of $1.2 million for each of the next three years and $1.3 million per year for another three years after that.

If, however, they put Avery on re-entry waivers and he's claimed by the New York Rangers or anyone else, the Stars would immediately have to add half of Avery's remaining salary this year to their cap hit. On top of that, they would have a higher cap hit of $1.9 million for each of the next three seasons, although they would save $2 million in cash. But even in this economy that isn't going to make or break Dallas owner Tom Hicks.

But if the Rangers want to allow Avery to play with their farm team in Hartford of the AHL for a trial run before deciding if they want to pick him up - and Stars' GM Les Jackson and Ranger counterpart Glen Sather are arranging for that to happen on Tuesday - the Stars may play the re-entry card later on just to put this whole thing behind them.

In the meantime, though, Dallas is covering its bases. Stars' team doctors gave Avery a thorough physical on Monday in Dallas because they don't need him showing up in the minors and suddenly discovering he's "injured." Injured players get paid to not play, just like Avery right now, but injured players don't often get picked up on re-entry waivers and injured players cannot be bought out of their contracts.

The bottom line is that Dallas is under no real pressure, financial or otherwise, to make a move unless it suits them.

Bob McKenzie

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