TSN.ca is reporting that the NY Rangers have demoted recently claimed forward Mark Bell to the Hartford Wolfpack, the Ranger's AHL team. Certainly this could be construed to be pre-emptive to claiming Sean Avery off re-entry waivers from the Stars. This move ought to take up most of what was left of the Rangers salary cap, and will cause Glen Sather to be creative at the trade deadline.
I have very mixed feelings about this move, if in fact it happens. While Avery is the gritty player that I yearned for a few weeks ago, that was under the Tom Renney regime. Certainly he was the spark that the Rangers needed then, but will his spark be needed now?
Since Tortorella took over, Voros has been scratched a couple of times and Colton Orr is basically invisible. The tough guys that Renney used to try and jump start a stagnant Rangers team have been put onto the back burner over the last three games. Plus, what line is Avery going to fit on?
The last two seasons, he bounced around a bit but was effective on the Jagr line protecting the Rangers star player. Jagr would invariably circle to the right dot and shoot and Avery was in front causing havoc. Jagr is long gone to Siberia and Avery really doesn't fit on any line.
The obvious candidates to be dropped to the 4th line (assuming Avery isn't stuck down there) from an overall talent point of view are Dawes, Prucha, Korpikoski, and Callahan. The problem here is that these are the grinders that are truly excelling under Tortorella's strategy. All of these guys ooze fundamentals and gritty play. It would be hard to rationalize scratching them or dropping them for Avery.
Where he likely ends up: On the Gomez and Naslund line. (Sorry Nigel) I think that this could be his best fit, digging pucks out of the corner and getting them to the front of the net.
Overall Rangers fans will be happy with this move, and while one 6 goal game is nothing to say the turnaround has happened, will Tortorella really mess with the chemistry of the top 3 lines? Time will tell.