Report: Avery heading to free agent market Staff with files

6/22/2008 10:45:00 AM

One of the NHL's most hated players will become of the the league's most coveted players on July 1, as the New York Daily News reports that winger Sean Avery is headed to unrestricted free agency.

According to the New York Daily News, Rangers general manager Glen Sather spent the last moments of Saturday's NHL Entry Draft talking to Avery's agent Pat Morris about the possibility of re-signing the feisty winger.

And after Morris made his pitch, he emerged all but convinced that Avery won't be re-signed by the Blueshirts. "We had an interesting dialogue, and there appears to be disagreement over what Sean's value is to the New York Rangers," Morris told the paper.

Asked if he thought Avery would get to July 1 without a new contract, Morris replied, "It's highly likely that will happen."

Sather told the News that while he wanted Avery back, the asking price wasn't in line with the Rangers' numbers. "I can tell you this, Pat Morris has told me that he has never said that he wants $4 million," Sather told the Daily News. "I said, 'Well, you've given me several comparable players who you think are worth that number.' And if you look at comparisons, the kid in Ottawa (Chris Kelly) just signed (for four years at $2.125 million per). And he told me one time that he was very comparable with Sean. So, you know, it's negotiating."

Avery, 28, has been a key player with the Rangers since joining them midway through the 2006-07 season in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings. The Rangers are 50-20-16 over the last two seasons (10-8 in the playoffs) with him in the lineup, and 9-13-3 without him.
In 86 games with the Rangers, Avery scored 23 goals and tallied 53 points with 212 penalty minutes and a plus-17.