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Stars near cap floor

Sean Avery was demoted to the American League by the New York Rangers. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Sean Avery was demoted to the American League by the New York Rangers. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ assignment of Sean Avery to the minors will have an impact on the Dallas Stars payroll.

Avery was claimed off re-entry waivers by the Rangers in 2009, meaning the Stars were still on the hook for half his $3.875 million per season cap hit.

With Avery's demotion, his salary not only comes off the Rangers’ NHL payroll, but also the Stars’, placing them perilously close to dropping beneath the salary cap floor.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reported the Stars are expecting defenseman Adam Pardy to come off LTIR by Thursday, meaning they'd have to demote a player to the minors, which would put them under the floor.

To avoid this, Heika reports the club was studying waiver wires, the UFA market and even the trade route as GM Joe Nieuwendyk would prefer a long-term solution to the problem by adding a player earning $1 million or more.

Don't expect a blockbuster move, as Nieuwendyk would prefer a depth player to address this need. Waivers or a free agent signing are the best bets. Free agents such as defenseman Anton Stralman or right wingers Chris Clark and Steve Bernier are potential options.

TURRIS DEMANDS MAKE NO SENSE

Center Kyle Turris' contract holdout with the Phoenix Coyotes has puzzled more than a few observers around the NHL.

Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal claimed he hadn't met a scout or GM who wasn't “dumbfounded” by Turris' unrealistic salary demands of $3-$4 million per season, leaving them wondering if the 22-year-old doesn't want to play in Phoenix and is trying to force a trade.

If that's the case, he'll be in for a long wait.

During Saturday's “Hotstove” segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman reported Coyotes GM Don Maloney denied speculation he was softening his “no-trade” stance toward Turris.

Though there were rumors of Calgary and Columbus having interest in the center, Maloney maintained he won't trade the youngster.

Turris is a restricted free agent and still eligible to receive offer sheets from rival teams, but Friedman believes the Coyotes would match any offer.

Regardless of the reasons behind Turris' holdout, he lacks the leverage to get what he wants.

He hasn’t put up the offensive numbers to justify his salary demands and won't get that kind of money from other NHL teams. Also, his absence isn't one that will adversely impact the Coyotes roster.

What's worse, this will adversely affect any possible trade value he has and will give him a reputation as being difficult in contract negotiations.

The clock is also ticking on his eligibility to play in the NHL this season. If he's not under contract by Dec. 1 he won't be able to play for the rest of the season, which would be a setback in his development.

For now, this appears to be a game of “chicken” between Coyotes management and the Turris camp. It'll be surprising if the latter doesn't blink first.

GAGNER-TO-LEAFS RUMOR SQUASHED

Late last week, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star “tweeted” of “persistent chatter” the Toronto Maple Leafs had interest in Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner.

Over the past weekend, however, Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reported Leafs GM Brian Burke denied the rumor, even going so far as to contact Oilers GM Steve Tambellini to inform him the story wasn't coming from him.

Francis also reported Burke admitted to being “in listening mode” regarding trades involving his blueline depth.

He's in the market for an impact top-six forward and is believed to be willing to deal some depth players, including a defenseman, to acquire one.

Burke has been able to pull off mid-season deals in the past, landing Dion Phaneuf from Calgary two years ago and Joffrey Lupul from Anaheim last season. It would be foolish to assume he won't find what he's looking for this season.

But it will take some time to find the right deal, so demanding Leafs fans will have to be patient. However, a good start for the club would take some pressure off Burke to make a trade.

POTI INJURY SOLVES CAPS PROBLEMS

As expected, the Washington Capitals placed defenseman Tom Poti, sidelined by a potentially career-threatening groin injury, on the long-term injury reserve prior to the start of the season.

The move will ensure Poti's $2.875 million salary comes off the Capitals books this season, making them compliant with the NHL salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million.

It'll also put to rest rumors of the club shopping left winger Alexander Semin or defenseman Mike Green this season.

 

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.

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