The Rangers and Chris Drury will be going their separate ways. Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers will buyout Drury today, ending his four year stint on Broadway. This process was a bit confusing, as generally players going through the buyout process need to go through unconditional waivers. Drury, because of his no movement clause, rejected waivers, and went straight to the buyout. So, no waivers, which is what got everyone up in arms yesterday, but there is still the buyout.
Per CapGeek, the buyout of Drury saves them $3.33 million in this year’s cap, giving them much needed breathing room to make a splash in free agency. Drury’s cap hit after the buyout will be $3.716 million for this season (down from $7.05 million), and $1.67 million for next season. In buying out their captain, the Rangers are acknowledging that they have a window to win with Henrik Lundqvist, and that window is only going to be open for so long. Freeing up cap space to pursue Brad Richards is a must for the Blueshirts, as they recognize not only the need for a true top center, but a veteran presence to help school youngsters Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov into adding more offense to their games.
Buying out Drury may not have much of an effect on the Rangers on the ice, but Drury has been one of the most respected Rangers off the ice. He commanded attention in the locker room, something that is tough for fans to believe as he is often soft spoken to the media. Drury led by example, but it is very clear that his knee injury has been bothering him, even after his return.
My favorite Drury moment is definitely against the Devils this past season, when he came back, clearly hurt, and scored that incredibly important goal in the first period. He was in front of the net, an area where most Rangers don’t dare go.