The New York Rangers are considering bringing Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery back to the team, reports the New York Post.
According to the newspaper, the Rangers held discussions involving the front office, coaching staff and players to determine if the move would be beneficial.
The Stars and Rangers, in Dallas for a game against each other on Friday night, would not comment on the report. The Stars went on to beat the Rangers 10-2, improving to 17-7-3 since the famous pest last played in a Stars' jersey.
Prior to Avery's time in Dallas he played one and a half seasons for the Rangers. He signed with the Stars as a free agent this past off-season.
According to the Post, Rangers general manager Glen Sather was expected to talk to Stars co-general manager Les Jackson about the move.
If the move were to be made, the Stars and Rangers would need to work out a plan that would see Avery placed on waivers and then, if he cleared, assigned to the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Before the forward could be accepted by the Wolf Pack off waivers, the two teams would need to reach an agreement to place him on re-entry waivers that would see the Rangers get Avery.
According to the New York Post, the Rangers would then pay half the cost of his remaining contract (four-year, $15.5 million). New York would pay a pro-rated percentage of his 2008-09 salary starting from the day Avery joined the team this season. They would be responsible for $1,937,500 in both salary and cap charges over the following three seasons.
The entire process would need to be completed by the NHL's trade deadline on March 4th for Avery to be available to the Rangers for the playoffs.
While the Wolf Pack would be willing to take Avery, the Manitoba Moose, with whom the Stars have an AHL-NHL loan agreement, would not.
Mark Chipman, owner of the Moose, says the Stars have not inquired to see if the team would accept Avery.
"We haven't discussed it because it's not something we're thinking about," Chipman told TSN.
Avery was suspended for six games by the NHL due to inappropriate comments he made back in November. He has not played since that time and has been in the NHL/NHLPA behavioral health program.
Avery's agent Pat Morris spoke to AM640 in Toronto on Friday and explained he has seen a change since his client has been in the program.
"My experience with him over the last two months has been a nine or a ten compared to what it used to be," Morris told AM640. "He's responsive, he listens, I think he takes advice better, he interacts, he's kinder and gentler and a better people person."
Morris also explained Avery knows he will be under the microscope when he returns.
"He knows he'll be under evaluation whenever he's back into a hockey domain, certainly that has not been lost on him, we've had long conversations about that," said Morris to AM640.
He is expected to be cleared from the program this week or sometime early next week.
The Rangers did not have much to say when asked about the report on Friday.
"Discussing anything about Sean Avery, he's in another organization so it's inappropriate for us to discuss that and anything beyond is speculation," said head coach Tom Renney.
"When he played for us he played hard and he played hard every night," said the Rangers' Marc Staal on Friday. "He's a good teammate and whatever happened in Dallas, I have no idea what went on but we enjoyed him in New York."
Rangers coach Tom Renney was tight-lipped on the possibility of Avery returning to New York.
"I can't comment on that," Renney told the Canadian Press. "He's Dallas Stars property. It's ridiculous for me to even go down that road."
"Sean is a good hockey player," Renney said. "He can help anybody he plays for, there's no question about that...This is a guy who can play and is a great teammate. He was always there for his teammates and laid it on the line every night. How can you not admire that? We had him in a good situation and we used him, I think, appropriately. The entire organization benefits by that."