DALLAS - Sean Avery is one step closer to resuming his playing career.
The Dallas Stars placed the winger on waivers Saturday and will be able to assign him to the American Hockey League if he goes unclaimed by noon on Monday.
Avery spent the past two months in a league-mandated counselling program after making his infamous "sloppy seconds" remark in early December. He's now been cleared from that program.
The Stars don't have an AHL team and will have to find somewhere for him to play. A report in the New York Post on Friday suggested that the Rangers might be interested in welcoming him back and are open to having him first play for their farm team in Hartford.
The Stars have some players skating for Hamilton, affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, but Bulldogs GM Julien Brisebois said Saturday that they would not be a potential destination for Avery.
Dallas has already said that Avery has played his final game for the team.
His route back to the NHL is most likely through re-entry waivers. After some time in the AHL, he could be placed on those and claimed by any of the league's 29 other teams at half the price.
Avery signed a US$15.5-million, four-year contract with the Stars last summer and played just 23 games for the team.
The Stars have thrived since Avery's departure. They have a 17-8-3 record without him, moving from last place in the Western Conference to a tie for fifth entering play Saturday.
The 28-year-old Avery has played for Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Dallas during his career. He wore out his welcome with both the Kings and Stars, and will be under a fair bit of scrutiny wherever he ends up next.