The Kings and forward Sean Avery have agreed on a one-year contract that will pay him $1.1 million next season and allow them to avoid arbitration.
The deal probably will include a short leash, which Kings officials hope will put an end to Avery’s off-ice incidents.
“This isn’t like he’s getting a clean slate with a new general manager and a new coach,” said Dean Lombardi, the Kings’ first-year GM. “He’s still on double-secret probation.”
Avery’s last season was marked by controversial moments, beginning with disparaging remarks he made in September about French Canadian players. He was also accused of making a racial slur to Edmonton’s Georges Laraque, who is black, although Avery denied making the comment.
The NHL fined Avery for diving during a game, then fined him for comments he made about the original fine.
Other incidents included harsh comments about opposing players and an obscenity-laced tirade directed at Ducks announcer Brian Hayward, antics that his teammates said they were weary of defending.
Avery also had 257 penalty minutes to lead the NHL for the second consecutive season. His season ended with three games remaining, when he refused to do a drill in practice and was ordered off the ice.
Still, the Kings were reluctant to cut ties with Avery, who has been an effective player. He had 15 goals and 39 points and often lured opponents into penalties.