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Drury’s Knee May Prevent Buyout

June 17, 2011, by

Per Larry Brooks, following up on a story by Arthur Staple, Chris Drury’s knee injury appears to be much more severe than anyone has let on.  After knee surgery late last season, Drury returned to the Rangers for the last game of the season, scoring one of the most important goals of his Ranger career, and for the playoffs.  Although Drury scored that goal against the Devils in the first period to tie the game, it was clear that he was either a step behind, or that his knee injury was still bothering him.

Recently, there had been discussions and confirmations that the Rangers would indeed buyout Drury’s contract when the buyout period opens on Monday (48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, not including weekends).  Staple refuted that report a few days later, citing Drury’s knee injury as a potential cause for disruption of the buyout.  Per the CBA, a team cannot buyout am injured player.  It prevents teams from cutting ties with players because of significant injuries, and really protects the players.

With Drury’s knee injury now being referred to as “degenerative”, this may fall under that clause in the CBA.  This, of course, is bad news for the Rangers and their offseason plans.  Freeing up that $3.3 million was crucial in their pursuit of Brad Richards and their desire to get all of their key RFAs under contract.  Instead of dealing with a $3.7 million cap hit over the summer, it is now a full $7.05 million cap hit.  Naturally, that goes a long way in staying under the summer cap.

While the panic for the offseason plans is well deserved, any panic for the regular season should be brushed aside.  Assuming Drury’s knee injury is so severe that he cannot play, he will be placed on LTIR immediately.  While LTIR does not save the Rangers cap space in the general sense, it allows them to spend Drury’s cap hit in cap overages.

The soon to be 35 year old center and captain of the Rangers also has one other option.  This is an option that I have been predicting since we heard that Drury’s knee injury might be career threatening.  That prediction is that Drury will do what Markus Naslund did, and retire.  This, of course, is pure speculation on my part.  But considering the severity of the injury, is it really that preposterous now?


  1. Adrian says:

    Terrible news, however if it’s this bad then retire he has made his money let the team grow be a man and call it quits.

    • Dave says:

      I honestly think he goes that route. Been saying that for a long time now, since we found out his knee injury was going to keep him out longer than expected.

      Knees are fickle beasts…they rarely heal properly, if at all.

      • Brian SCS says:

        Does LTIR apply to the summer cap? I mean can it be effective as of now? If the Rangers can place him on it indefinately then would that give them a full $7mil to spend until he returns.

        • Dave says:

          To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t think it does. Summer cap will be approximately $69 million though.

        • Dave says:

          Just confirmed it with CapGeek, there is no LTIR in the summer.

          • Brian SCS says:

            Thanks Dave, that makes sense of course. The summer cap basically allows us to carry Redden all summer and spend within about $500K of the cap ceiling assuming the cap goes to about $62mil. I guess they will pressure him to retire.

  2. Zen says:

    Ugh. You have to think that Wolski is now in trouble. The Rangers cap situation all of a sudden becomes very tight in order to get Richards in the fold… at least in terms of the summer cap with Drury & Redden and re-signing the RFAs.

    Knowing Drury from this tenure here, the only way he retires is if he ABSOLUTELY knows he will never play again. If there is any hope, he won’t retire.

    • Dave says:

      Wolski is certainly a candidate to be bought out, and now it is more likely than before.

      Honestly, if Drury knows his knee injury will keep him out all of next year, there’s no way he doesn’t retire.

  3. Matt J says:

    This is bullshit. The guy played all the playoff games for the rangers, and now magically his knee hurts. Boo hoo. Drury should retire either way whether he’s 100% or not, as he can’t play at the NHL level anymore. Now he’s just pissing me off. Is there any shame to what naslund did? Not at all. Some guys can’t play past 35 and that’s that.

    • Dave says:

      He played hurt.

      • Matt J says:

        Trevor Linden played game 7 of the 94′ cup on cracked ribs. You know why this rule sucks how you can’t buy out anyone that’s injured? It’s because we aren’t buying him out because he’s injured, we’re buying him out because he’s bad. Prust and Girardi also played hurt in the series might i add.

        • Dave says:

          Cracked ribs, broken bones and hernias =/= degenerative knee condition.

          • Brian SCS says:

            I can see how this may be a distinction for his long term prognosis but I don’t see how they can be viewed as distinct under the letter of the CBA. He has already displayed an ability to play on that knee which is no different than playing with a fractured rib or another injury. My point is that his knee would have been classified as degenerative even prior to his late season return yet, the doctor cleared him to play. So now all of a sudden he’s not cleared to play? Sounds bogus or it’s a loophole as far as I can see it.

    • joey says:

      ridiculous. guys play hurt all the time in the playoffs. if anything, commend him for it.

  4. joey says:

    he wont retire.

  5. Walt says:

    If the Rangers are smart, they offer Chris a position for three years, and spread out what is due him over that time frame. Then if he does a good job, he could continue with the organization as long as he wants, at a reduced rate of course. He is a class guy, and I believe he will retire after all! Let me make this clear, a job off the ice, maybe scouting, or PR.

    • wwpd says:

      haha PR might be a bit tough at first since most of the fans want him gone 🙂 but seriously, yes he seems like a kind of guy it would be good to retain in the back office of the organization in some capacity

  6. I Want Another Cup Parade says:

    If he doesn’t retire he will go down in history as the greediest person to ever play the game.