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Tortorella didn't see fit for Avery with Rangers

by Dan Rosen /
STOCKHOLM -- While admitting that Sean Avery had a good training camp, Rangers coach John Tortorella also felt 13 forwards were better.

The Rangers placed Avery on waivers at noon ET on Tuesday.

Avery, who is in the final season of a four-year contract, will remain on waivers for 24 hours, during which time another team can claim him. If he is not claimed, the Rangers can assign Avery to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, and his $1,937,500 salary will come off of their salary cap.

Avery's agent, Pat Morris, told that playing in Europe this season is an option if the 31-year-old left wing clears waivers.

"I think we have better players than Sean Avery, plain and simple," Tortorella said. "I can dodge it 10 different ways without trying to run Sean over -- I thought he had a good camp, but I think the makeup of our team and some of the people we've added and some of the youth we've added as far as depth put Sean in this spot. I wish him good luck in everything, but we've gone by that. I think we're a better club. The players that are here are better than Sean Avery. They're more versatile in a lot of different areas."

Tortorella had said Saturday that he wanted only one extra forward on the roster, and that it was a battle between Avery and Erik Christensen.

Christensen won it because Tortorella said he feels he can use Christensen in more situations than Avery, and his ability to score in the shootout can be vital to the Rangers' success.

The Rangers got into the playoffs last season largely because it went 9-3 in the shootout. Christensen scored on five of his eight attempts.

"Sean is a player we have used as a banger and forechecker. We don't use him killing penalties or on the power play," Tortorella said, adding Mike Rupp will assume a lot of those physical responsibilities. "The consequence with Erik, I can use him in a number of different spots. That's the way it worked out."

Tortorella refused describe the conversation he had with Avery on Tuesday.

"I'm trying to do this the right way because I don't want to keep on shoveling dirt over Sean Avery, but we have better players than Sean Avery right now on the hockey club," he said.

The Rangers claimed Avery from Dallas on re-entry waivers March 3, 2009. He had been signed by the Stars to a four-year, $15.5 million contract on July 2, 2008, but was suspended and ordered to enroll in anger management classes by the NHL after lewd public remarks about an ex-girlfriend.

He had 24 points in 76 games last season and had 42 goals and 78 assists in 249 games over two stints as a Ranger, including 86 games prior to going to Dallas and 163 after coming back.

"Sean had a good camp, but we had to make a decision," Tortorella said. "I just think our team has grown. I give Sean a lot of credit. When he was brought in here, I wasn't here, but I know he was a catalyst in helping that team get to the playoffs, but I think our team has grown and you have to keep moving, not staying still."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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