The New York Rangers roster and salary cap situation will become clearer on July 30 when Sean Avery’s arbitration case will be help.  SI.COM’s Allan Muir sees Avery’s case as one to keep an eye on.  To view the article, use this URL and look at Page 2:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/allan_muir/07/23/arbitration.numbers/index.html?eref=writers.

Avery’s case is much different than a Mike Cammalleri or Derek Roy because Sean’s case is not built on numbers.  Rather, Avery’s case has to be built on intangibles and the things he does that often do not show up in the box score.

As a result, Muir believes he will get a raise from his $1.1 million salary, but he should not approach the salary figures that Cammalleri and Roy will.  Muir’s contends that the Rangers are hoping to keep Avery under the $2 million mark – especially considering the Rangers still have Marcel Hossa’s August 2 arbitration case.

If Avery ends up with more than a $2 million contract, then the Rangers are going to have a serious decision to make. They might have to decide to walk away from either Avery’s or Hossa’s arbitration case.  Since the Rangers have more than one case, they will not have to make a decision until 48 hours after Hossa’s arbitration award.

The other alternative would be trying and move one of the higher priced defenseman like Marek Malik or Paul Mara. However, Glen Sather would be looking at a similar situation that Lou Lamoriello faced last season when the Devils had to burn a first round draft pick just to dump Vladimir Malakhov’s contract on San Jose.

The Rangers best strategy would be to hammer out deals with both Avery and Hossa prior to their arbitration hearings. This plan would give the Rangers more control over the final contract figures for both players.  Unfortunately, they do not have the ability (i.e. salary cap room) to do for Avery and Hossa what they did for Henrik Lundqvist – namely “overpay” a player compared to what his arbitration award what have been.

Remember, in today’s salary cap world, it is one thing to say a player is worth X amounf of dollars, but it is another thing to pay him X amount of dollars.

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