Avery Coming Up? Legace Staying Down?

Larry Brooks sure is a Sean Avery fan.

He says Avery, expected to be assigned to the Rangers AHL affiliate today, can’t get to New York quickly enough.

The Rangers failed to score in last night’s loss to the Devils.

Brooks argues the team needs Avery to shake things up. Also, he says Avery will be a presence in the slot. But during Avery’s last tour as a Ranger, his down-low game would often disappear for stretches as he began to fancy himself more of a pure goalscorer. Avery would go games at a time shooting the puck in on net from the faceoff circle, not even bothering to set himself up in traffic.

Also, on a purely financial level, even with Dallas paying half of Avery’s contract, the Rangers should explore unloading some salary. If the Rangers take Avery, Dallas doesn’t have to buy him out at 2/3 of his contract value. The Rangers should use that as a negotiating point for Dallas to take one of the Rangers underperforming/overpaid defensemen. If/when the Rangers take Avery, they’re doing Dallas a huge solid. I suspect as much as the Rangers want Avery, Dallas wants to unload him even more.

Speaking of defensemen, the Denver Post has a nice profile on Colorado’s Ruslan Salei, apparently one of the funnier defensemen in the league. Except for the Yakov Smirnoff reference, which need to be retired from usage in stories about Eastern European players, it’s a pretty good piece.

Finally, goalie Manny Legace, sent to St. Louis’ AHL affiliate, is expected to start for the Peroira Rivermen tomorrow night. Chris Holt, who basically took Legace’s backup job, says Legace will be good for the younger players.

I was always a huge Legace fan. I hope he’s able to return to the NHL, either via waivers claim or as a free agent next season.

By the way: Legace is now the highest paid player in Rivermen history. Goalie Patrick Lalime will have to return his plaque. However, he will be allowed to keep the Rice-A-Roni.