Rangers rooked by Kings for Avery
Sean Avery, NYR (#16)
...At least, so says Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period.
The Rangers' "youth movement" showed some visible progress last season, with Wolf Pack alums like Dominic Moore, Jed Ortmeyer, Blair Betts, and Ryan Hollweg all making significant contributions. Then Moore was traded away last summer (for marginal veteran Adam Hall), and none of the candidates from this year's promising batch of rookies were given any kind of reasonable shot at sticking with the big club early in the season (Nigel Dawes and Jarkko Immonen being two examples). Throw in the addition of 31-year-old Jason Krog, claimed off waivers while younger centermen bided their time in Hartford, and it seemed like the Rangers had put their youth movement on hold.
Now comes the trade for Avery, at the expense of more prospects-- namely Jan Marek (43 points in 42 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk so far this season) and Marc-Andre Cliche (36 points in 35 games for Lewiston of the QMJHL). As someone else pointed out, the Kings let Craig Conroy go to the Flames the other week for a lot less than the Rangers gave up for Avery.
Here's Bernstein's take, from a Los Angeles perspective:
On Monday afternoon, (Kings GM) Dean Lombardi fooled a team, the New York Rangers, into taking Sean Avery off his hands and actually gave back a player off its NHL roster (RW Jason Ward) and a couple of mid-level prospects to boot (junior Marc Andre Cliché and European Jan Marek).
Lombardi would have been the winner of the deal if he got back a bag of pucks and two broken sticks for Avery.
Avery doesn't have the offensive skill to play on the powerplay, he's a mediocre penalty killer and his decision making is among the worst in the league. His stay in Los Angeles has proven that he's a third line player with a terrible attitude. As marginal as his play was on the ice, he was far worse off it. Sean Avery was a snarling, nasty man in a Kings locker room of decent guys. Despite denials you might hear publicly, he was universally disliked by the team.
There's that old saying "addition by subtraction" and the Kings have added so much by taking this player off their roster.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the response to the trade by Rangers followers was as uninspiring as it was unoriginal.
Q: Which of the Rangers web pundits (bloggers, message board hacks, and so forth), within hours of the announcement, gave the same mindless reaction to the Sean Avery trade?
A: Pretty much all of them.