The Pickering, Ontario native signed as a free agent with the Red Wings prior to the 1999-2000 OHL season and joined the Wings AHL affiliate in Cincinnati in 2000-01 racking up over 300-plus penalty minutes and finishing sixth in the AHL.
In 2001-02 Avery made his NHL debut with the Red Wings, playing in 36 games while spending the other half of the season with Cincinnati. Avery jumped between Detroit and the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2002-03, before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in a deal that brought rearguard Mathieu Schneider to the Motor City.
Upon his arrival with the Kings, Avery continued to play a gritty game and in 2003-04 led the league in penalty minutes with 261. He later set career highs in goals (15), assists (24) and points (39) in 2005-06 and again led the league in minutes spent in the penalty box.
In 2005-06 Avery would go on to set new career highs with 15 goals, 24 assists for 39 points while once again leading the league in penalty minutes. The following season Avery appeared in 55 games with the Kings before he was dealt to the New York Rangers with John Seymour in exchange for Jason Ward, Marc-Andrew Cliché and Jan Marek.
Through two seasons in New York, Avery proved to be a key contributor offensively while he continued to be one of the league's top superpests. The 2007-08 season in particular proved to be a very interesting one for Avery and the Rangers. After returning from wrist surgery, Avery went on to record 33 points in just 57 games and helped the Blueshirts into the NHL playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs, Avery's antics were displayed during a Ranger's two-man advantage. Facing New Jersey's goaltender Martin Brodeur, Avery waived his arms and stick in the air in a distraction attempt. The move was legal at the time, however a day later the league made a statement that any form of this action in future would result in an unsportsmanlike penalty. After the Rangers eliminated the Devils, Avery's season would come to an end when he was sent to the hospital to repair a lacerated spleen.
In summer of 2008, Avery signed a four-year, $15.5 million contract with the Dallas Stars, though he would only appear in 23 games for the club. Controversy plagued his time in the "Lone Star State" and he was subsequently waived by the Stars and assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League. Eventually, Avery would find his way back to Rangers organization after be claimed off waivers by the club on March 3, 2009.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame
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