The Rangers should ultimately choose how much longer Avery will be #16 for them
To say that Sean Avery's future with the New York Rangers is in question is an understatement. On Friday, Avery was arrested for shoving a police officer at his home in California. After being in Gary Bettman's office more than once in his career, Avery's future in the NHL is also uncertain.
With that being said, the Rangers should make a decision on whether or not they want Avery with the team to start the 2011-12 season rather than the league making that decision for them. One of the reasons for this is the speculation that Avery's place on the roster was in doubt before the incident on Friday.
It's no secret that Avery and head coach John Tortorella have not seen eye-to-eye. Under Tortorella, Avery has toiled on the fourth line and hasn't been the effective force that he was during his first tour of duty in New York. If Tortorella was planning to use Avery in a similar role this year, there is no need for the Rangers to have him on the roster.
More importantly, the Rangers should be the ones to determine Avery's future because they gave Avery the second chance when the other 29 teams wouldn't touch him in 2009. After Avery's comments about his ex-girlfriends and other NHL players, the Rangers hoped to catch lightning in a bottle in the same way they did with him in 2007.
Now, however, the situation isn't the same. Whether it is because he feels he has a target on his back or if he has mellowed (Friday being an exception), Avery's game has changed. Avery's effectiveness depends on how close to the line he goes, and he is better on the ice when he is near or over the line.
For what Avery is doing on the ice, the aggravations off the ice aren't worth it. So, instead of sitting back and waiting for Gary Bettman to make a ruling, the Rangers should step up and make the decision regarding their player's future.