New York Rangers' demotion of Sean Avery could force Dallas Stars to acquir

The Stars are studying moves to add a player because of the sudden possibility that they could drop below the NHL-mandated salary floor of $48.3 million.

The Stars have been paying half of Sean Avery’s salary to the New York Rangers since losing him on recall waivers in 2009, and that $1.9 million has also counted against the salary cap for the Stars.

However, the Rangers last week assigned Avery to the their minor league team in Connecticut , and the NHL notified the Stars that they could not count Avery’s cap hit while he is in the minors, even though they still must pay the salary.

That puts the Stars perilously close to the cap floor.

Adam Pardy is on injured reserve with a rib injury and Philip Larsen has taken his place on the roster, and that has kept the Stars above the floor because both salaries count against the cap.

However, if Pardy recovers from his rib injury — and he is expected to by Thursday — a player would have to be assigned to the minors, and the Stars would fall under the floor because they would have 23 players counting against the cap instead of 24.

“It’s an issue that we didn’t think we would have to deal with, but we do, and we are studying every option,” general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. “Bottom line, you can’t be below the floor.”