NEW YORK -- Sean Avery, the NHL's most-penalized player the
past two seasons, was traded to the New York Rangers on Monday
night in a deal that sent checking forward Jason Ward to the Los Angeles Kings.
Avery had 10 goals, 18 assists and 116 penalty minutes in 55
games this season with the Kings, who also acquired the rights to
unsigned forwards Marc-Andre Cliche and Jan Marek. Los Angeles sent
19-year-old prospect John Seymour to the Rangers.
Scott Burnside says if Sean Avery can get Brendan Shanahan the puck without driving everyone else crazy in the process, that will be a feat in and of itself. Story
"Some teams were actively pursuing Sean, the New York Rangers
were very aggressive," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said.
"From our standpoint, the key is the young player, Cliche, who has
Avery has made more of a splash off the ice.
The brash left winger received a league reprimand in September
2005 when he made derogatory comments about French-Canadian players
after then-Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier hit former Kings
teammate Jeremy Roenick in an exhibition game. Avery issued an
He also was outspoken a few months later when he received a fine
for diving during a game. Avery complained about the punishment,
which resulted from a second offense, and drew a second $1,000
fine. He suggested that the NHL singled him out because of his
As part of his protest to the diving fine, Avery chastised union
members on the league's competition committee -- including new
Rangers teammate Brendan Shanahan -- for agreeing to such penalties
that aren't subject to appeal in the collective bargaining
The 26-year old Avery had 257 penalty minutes in 75 games last
season along with career highs of 15 goals, 24 assists and 39
points. He signed a one-year contract with the Kings before this
season worth $1.1 million and can become a restricted free agent in
"He's been good," Lombardi said. "All year he's learned to be
a better teammate. He comes to play every night. Sometimes emotion
gets the best of him. I think he's made marked improvement this
"Sometimes players just take a little time to mature. Sean's
still young, hopefully he'll continue to do so. He's going to a big
stage now. If he continues [to mature], he'll do just fine. From
the summer, when I first got there, there wasn't much of a market
for Sean Avery. He's made progress."
The deal was completed shortly before the Rangers faced the
Detroit Red Wings, Avery's first NHL team. He is expected to join
the team for Tuesday's game at New Jersey.
New York has been looking for a spark while trying to break out
of a slump in which the Rangers lost six of nine and 13 of 20. They
were held to two goals or fewer 11 times during the stretch that
dropped them below the cutoff line in the Eastern Conference
Ward, who can be an unrestricted free agent after the season,
had four goals and six assists in 46 games. He was scratched for
five of New York's previous seven games.
Seymour had one goal and five assists in 34 games with the
Brampton of the Ontario Hockey League.
The Kings, last in the Western Conference, are looking more to
Cliche, 19, has 15 goals and 21 assists in 35 games with
Lewiston of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, while Marek
posted 17 goals and 26 assists in 42 games with Magnitogorsk of the
Russian Hockey League.
"Jason Ward obviously is an NHL player, he can come in and play
for us right now," Lombardi said. "A player like Cliche, who
played for the Canadian National team, this kid works his tail off,
he's the type character we're looking for.
"Marek is one of the leading scorers in that league. He's got a
lot of skill and is made for this game. Two players who have some
upside and a player [Ward] who can come in and play now. I think
this made a lot of sense for us."