When Sean Avery was demoted to the CT Whale of the AHL, we said that it was the right move. This was not because we were endorsing Erik Christensen, because we weren’t, it was because Sean Avery’s effectiveness had dwindled. The 2007-2009 version of Sean Avery was superb, he was drawing more than one extra penalty than he was taking, and he was doing his job as a grinder and a pest.
But the 2009-2011 version of Sean Avery was far less effective, drawing just .1 more penalties for every one he took. He was constantly offsides, and seemed to only “bring it” on certain games. At that point, he was no longer worth is $1.9 million cap hit, and had become a liability, instead of an asset. Thus, the controversial decision to send him down was the right one. He was no longer playing the way he needed to play to stay with the Rangers.
As injuries mounted (Wojtek Wolski, Mike Rupp) and players were deemed not ready for the NHL (Mats Zuccarello), the Rangers had no choice but to recall Avery. The Rangers have been 7-0 since news of the recall broke, even if Avery has not played in all games since his recall. But, in the games that Avery has played, he seems like a renewed player.
Avery is no idiot, he knows this is his last shot to stay with a NHL club, and he is doing everything he can to stay with the Rangers. Aside from the scoreboard, the true value of Avery is in his ability to draw penalties while staying out of the box: Something he has done very well thus far.
So far, Avery has not taken a non-coincidental minor penalty, but he has drawn a few penalties on his own. His penalties drawn per 60 minutes is at 3.2, meaning he draws about three penalties per 60 minutes played. His penalties taken per 60 minutes is at 0.0, meaning he hasn’t taken any penalties that resulted in his team being shorthanded thus far. Those are extremely telling numbers, albeit with small sample size.
So why is the title of this post “Avery Proving People Right?” Simply put, we had been saying that Avery needed to be more effective to stay on the roster. He did not prove anyone wrong by playing this way and staying on the roster, it’s what we’ve been saying since the day he was demoted. He was not effective, and now he is. It’s as simple as that.