Members of the Dallas Stars management team will sit down today to discuss the future of Sean Avery and it likely won’t be long before the man who insisted on signing Avery makes a decision on his own future.
Several NHL sources have indicated that within the next couple of weeks the Stars’ co-GM experiment with Brett Hull and Les Jackson will be history. Speculation is Hull will move to another area of the organization and will be out of the decision making process when it comes to hockey matters.
Hull’s insistence on signing Avery in the face of opposition from everyone else in the hockey department will undoubtedly be a factor in the move, but sources also say Hull isn’t really fulfilling the GM duties beyond watching the Stars play.
Hull hasn’t been to see any of the Stars’ minor pro prospects play this season, nor has he been to scout any games in Europe, college or junior hockey. Unlike other former NHL stars such as Steve Yzerman, Joe Nieuwendyk and Al MacInnis – none of whom are GMs, but aspire to be – Hull was handed the portfolio with no experience and really hasn’t bided his time or learned the craft under the tutelage of someone with experience.
It’s expected Hull will stay with the Stars organization in some capacity, while Jackson, a longtime scout and former assistant GM, will take over the hockey department on a full-time basis.
As far as Avery is concerned, speculation is the Stars will not move to have his contract voided. Avery is currently in his anger management therapy program, which is not in Dallas. He hopes to come back to play in the NHL and it’s believed the Stars will try to find a place to put him in the American League, since they don’t have an affiliate.
When Avery is ready, it is thought the Stars might call him up, not to play him, but in the hopes that another team will claim him on recallable waivers. That would mean the Stars would be on the hook for half of his remaining salary through the life of his four-year contract, but that might be a more palatable proposition than buying him out at two-thirds of the value of the deal.
Any team picking Avery up from recallable waivers would be getting him for about $2 million a season, which could prove to be a bargain if he can once again establish himself as an effective player and find a way to stay with a team without alienating everyone around him.
“The sense is that Avery might be able to play in the league again, but it won’t be with Dallas,” a source said. “Too much has happened there and there’s no way he can go back. He needs a fresh start somewhere else.”
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