Posts tagged: Chris Drury

Chris Drury Retires

Via Tom Gulitti, former Rangers captain Chris Drury has formally announced his retirement through the NHLPA.  Drury signed a big contract with the Rangers, but age and a knee injury kept him from competing on a regular basis towards the end of the contract, prompting the Rangers to buy him out this past June.  In 892 career games, Drury finished with a line of 255-360-615 and a reputation for scoring big goals in pressure situations.  Although soft spoken, Drury was a leader on and off the ice for the Sabres and Rangers.

It is sad to see his career end this way.  He is not a Hall of Fame player by any means, but he was definitely under appreciated during his stay in New York.

Update 11:30: I don’t think his buyout cap hit is removed from the books, but Suit says it is.  We are waiting for clarification from CapGeek.

Update 11:33: Suit has clarified that he forgot about the buyout. I think he deserves to be flogged.

2011 Offseason: Sather’s Best?

There were many question marks for the Rangers that were pushed to the front of fans’ minds when they were eliminated from the playoffs in April.  Would the Rangers sign all of their key RFAs? Would the Rangers address the gaping hole at top-six center? Would that gaping hole be fixed by Brad Richards? Would they be able to fill holes on the bottom defense pairing? Would any of these contracts be a hindrance to the cap?  Well, three months later, we have answers to all these questions.  And you know what, the general feeling is that the Rangers passed this year’s offseason exam with flying colors.

Starting with the RFAs –assuming Ryan Callahan is signed to a deal, the Rangers signed every key RFA they had to sign.  But to be honest, signing them was pretty much expected, although some of us were waiting on bated breath for official word.  The difficult part was managing to get all RFAs signed to deals that fit under the salary cap.  When all is said and done, the Rangers will have spent approximately $12.5 million on their five RFAs (assuming Callahan comes in at $4.5 million).  That comes to an average of $2.5 million for those five players.  Not too shabby.

Next was Brad Richards. Everyone knew he was Broadway bound.  But what surprised us all was the cap hit of the finalized deal.  The Rangers got their man, their top line center, for a cap hit of $6.667 million, the 25th highest cap hit in the league.  Richards scored 77 points last season, good for 10th in the league, while missing 10 games with an injury.  If you put those numbers into a full 82 game season, that calculates out to 87 points and just outside the top five in scoring.

To make room for Richards, the Rangers made a very difficult decision to buy out captain Chris Drury.  The decision gave the organization an extra $3.3 million in cap space to work with, which was essential in getting Richards under contract.  All in all, the Rangers essentially replaced Chris Drury with Brad Richards.  Also, not too shabby.

Mike Rupp was a questionable signing at the time, but he gives the Rangers much needed grit on the bottom six forwards.  More importantly, he will take some of the enforcing duties away from Brandon Prust.  Rupp may have received a little more money than most would have liked, but he’s not a cap killer.   In addition to Rupp, the Rangers added (re-added) Ruslan Fedotenko and Steve Eminger to round out the roster.

Perhaps the biggest thing that separates this year from all the other years Glen Sather has been at the helm is that there really wasn’t a signing that made you say “what the…?”.  The signing that resulted in a big facepalm never materialized; although we were really close when rumors of the Rangers pursuing Andrew Brunnette surfaced on July 1.

Haters will always hate, and will point to Brad Richards as another “Sather payday”.  However, the difference between this signing and the signings of past is that this filled a hole in the Rangers roster.  The signings of past were attempts to build the roster, which is completely different from filling holes.  The roster has been built, holes have been filled.  The Rangers are still in great salary cap standing, and will end up with a little more than $1 million in wiggle room at the start of the season.

A core of young players, veterans filling holes, cap space, balanced roster.  When was the last time you were able to say that about the Rangers?

Free Agency Musings!

It’s Musings Thursday. The day before Free Agency so that makes this the Free Agent edition of Musings. See what I did there? I’m a genius I tell thee….

I wanted to tell you all that today was Christmas Eve and that we would all be excited like little children for tomorrow morning. Someone got to it before me but the thought remains. I’m so excited. Are you?

Inconvenient: I’m moving apartments tomorrow. Location is a massive upgrade but in terms of Free Agency it’s a huge pain in the ass. Moving all my stuff to a place with no internet connection for two weeks on free agency day? Sweet Jesus! My dad is getting an unexpected visitor tomorrow as I use and abuse his internet connection all day. No way do I miss Free Agency day.

Brad Richards. Everyone has taken their guess at where he goes, for how long and most importantly for how much. I think the Rangers offer him 6 years and 42 million. Does he take it? I think so but the Rangers (in my humble opinion) will not be competing against themselves even if they are the best fit.

Random moment of the day: Driving to the garage to get my car fixed – for the second time in a week! – and a Mercedes drove past me with the private licence plate: CD NMC.  I kid you not. Has Chris Drury and his No Movement Clause come all the way over to the UK to get away from it all?

Fact: The Rangers will be considerably better after July 1st than it is today. Of that, I am convinced.

Over/Under on Rangers free agent signings? With the over/under being 2 I’m saying over. I think they bring in two new faces (including Mr Richards) and bring back one of their own free agents.

A few players have got new (temporary?) homes this past few days. Let’s discuss them. James Wisniewski; I know a lot of you guys wanted him on the Rangers but the defense (barring a depth addition) is set. The West got tougher though, because if Columbus can sign him up and they have Carter to go with Nash then this team is definitely a playoff team in my opinion. Or is it? The West remains stacked.

Christian Ehrhoff; First the Isles and now the Sabres. First things first he is a good defenseman that is about to be handsomely overpaid. I know plenty of people will have laughed at the Islanders inability to sign him but in the end it didn’t cost them to try so kudos for being aggressive. Speaking of aggressive, if the Sabres sign him they become much better. Given the new owners ambition don’t rule them out of the Richards sweepstakes, assuming BR would be willing to play there.

  • You want examples of Free Agency being shallow this year? The deals for Tomas Kopecky, Chad Larose and David Jones were very generous to say the least, especially Kopecky’s.

Jaromir Jagr. He loves the attention doesn’t he? If he signs with the Pens that’s bad news for the Rangers as he’s in the division and makes the Pens much better. They say the deal is stalling. Some say it’s because he wants to come back to New York. This is the guy that was the first hockey $100m earner. If I’m Sather I welcome him back IF he will play for league minimum. Money shouldn’t be a factor for him.

Beyond Free Agency: Prospect Camp has been interesting. A lot of players have impressed. Andrew Yogan looks like a keeper; strong on the puck with good size. He’ll impress for the Whale if he plays a full year there. Ryan Bourque has impressed, Fasth and Thomas are scoring goals, McIlrath is playing both ends of the ice well and Erixon has displayed some slick puck movement. All bodes well.

On McIlrath: He’s taking responsibility over? Hard to gauge amongst fellow kids but the fact the player covets the role of leader bodes well. If he can improve his skating he may be in New York sooner rather than later. I had him tabbed for the MSG no earlier than 2 more years but if he’s growing as a personality and his skating catches up to his size is it a long shot that he makes it next year? Not at all.

  • Hall of Fame Selection: I may be biased but I think Eric Lindros deserves entry eventually. This year’s class was a good one though and given the candidates next year he’s going to have to wait a while longer. Does Pavel Bure deserve it? Yes.

Good luck in retirement to Todd Marchant and Paul Kariya. In very different ways both were very good NHL’ers. Kariya for a while was truly elite while Marchant is an ex Ranger.

I purposely got to the end of this Musings post without discussing the Chris Drury buy-out. I’m the bigger man! Enjoy Free Agency people. Fingers crossed!! Go RANGERS (welcome, Brad).

 

Drury Buyout Press Release

RANGERS BUY OUT FORWARD CHRIS DRURY

New York, June 29, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has bought out the contract of forward Chris Drury.

“Chris is a consummate professional, a tremendous competitor and an even better person,” stated Sather.  “He gave his heart and soul to the Rangers organization in his time here and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

In four seasons as a Ranger, Drury registered 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes in 264 games.  He made his debut with the team on October 4, 2007, tallying the game-winning goal and adding two assists vs. Florida in the season opener.  That season, he led the Blueshirts in power play goals (12) and game-winning goals (seven), tied for the team lead in goals (25), and ranked third in assists (33) and points (58).  Drury led the team in power play goals (10) for a second consecutive season in 2008-09, en route to capturing his first of two Players’ Player Awards (2008-09, 2009-10).

Drury, 34, is a Stanley Cup Champion and the only player in hockey history to win both the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top collegiate hockey player and the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.  The three-time Olympian, and two-time Olympic silver medalist with Team USA, was the winning pitcher for Trumbull, Connecticut in the 1989 Little League World Series vs. Taiwan.  He has served as Rangers’ captain for the last three seasons, having been named the 25th captain in franchise history on October 3, 2008.

In 2009-10, Drury led all NHL forwards in blocked shots (97) and was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the NY chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA), awarded annually to “the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”  That season, he recorded his 250th career NHL goal and 600th career NHL point with an empty net goal on February 14 vs. Tampa Bay, and skated in his 800th career NHL game on October 19 vs. San Jose.  Last season, Drury missed a total of 57 games due to injury.

Prior to joining the Rangers, Drury skated for three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, serving as team co-captain from 2005-06 to 2006-07.  He reached the 30-goal and 60-point plateaus twice as a Sabre, including a career-high, 37 goals and 69 points in 2006-07.  He also led Buffalo and tied for fourth in the NHL with career-highs in power play goals (17) and game-winning goals (nine) that season.  Drury reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career in 2005-06, leading the Sabres in goals (30) and power play goals (16), and finishing second on the team in points (67).  In the 2006 playoffs, Drury established career-highs in playoff scoring with 18 points and five power play goals in 18 games.  He tied for third in the NHL in goals (nine) and power play goals, and sixth in points while leading Buffalo to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 5-10, 191-pounder has skated in 892 career NHL games with the Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and Buffalo Sabres, registering 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points, along with 468 penalty minutes.  He has reached the 20-goal mark in nine of 12 NHL seasons and surpassed the 50-point mark eight times in his career.  Drury began his NHL career with Colorado in 1998-99, capturing the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie and being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.  He established a career-high and ranked second on the Avalanche with 47 assists in just his second season.

In Stanley Cup Playoff action, Drury has appeared in 135 career contests with the Rangers, Avalanche and Sabres, registering 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with 46 penalty minutes.  Drury is tied for fourth in the NHL all-time with four playoff overtime goals, and ranks sixth among active NHL players in playoff goals.  He has participated in the playoffs nine times, having advanced to at least the Conference Finals in five of those nine seasons.  Drury captured a Stanley Cup Championship with Colorado in 2000-01, establishing career-highs in postseason appearances (23) and goals (11).  His 11 goals in the 2001 playoffs ranked second in the NHL.

Prior to turning professional, Drury skated in 155 career games with Boston University of Hockey East (HE), recording 113 goals and 101 assists for 214 points.  He won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player in 1998, was runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award in 1997 and was a finalist for the award in 1996.  Drury finished his college career first all-time in goals (113) and third in points (214) in Boston University history, and is the only Terrier with at least 100 goals and 100 assists.  He captured the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship as a Freshman in 1994-95.

Internationally, Drury has represented the United States three times in the Winter Olympics (2002, 2006 and 2010), capturing the silver medal in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  He also participated in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the World Championships in 2004, 1998 and 1997, and the World Junior Championships in 1996.

The Trumbull, Connecticut native signed with the Rangers as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2007.  He was originally a third round choice of the Quebec Nordiques, 72nd overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

Rangers Officially Buyout Drury

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.

Drury Not On Waivers; Will Not Be Bought Out Yet

The news about Chris Drury and his pending buyout seemed to change by the hour.  First he was told he was going to be bought out, then he said he was going to cite his injury as a reason to not be bought out, then he said he was going to accept a buyout.  Well, if he said he was going to accept his buyout, he doesn’t have to worry.  The Rangers did not place Drury on unconditional waivers today (a required step in the buyout process), which was the last day to place a player on waivers with the intent of buying out a contract. Update 2:45pm: I seem to have mis-spoke here.  Since Drury has a NMC, he is allowed 24 hours to make a decision to waive the NMC to be placed on waivers for the buyout.  Today could have been the official notification.  Drury can still be placed on waivers tomorrow and be bought out on Thursday.  The deadline of notification is Thursday at 5pm.  Meaning the Rangers technically have a few more days.

In the event that Drury is not placed on waivers, it would leave the Rangers with two options.  The first is that they can force a player’s hand to go to arbitration, thus opening up the August buyout period.  If the Rangers wind up committing more money than anticipated for their RFAs and the pursuit of Brad Richards, then this is a viable route for them to open up additional cap space and/or summer cap space if necessary.

The second option is to place Drury on LTIR when the season starts, opening up his entire $7.05 million cap hit for the season.  This is the most likely of options, but it does present an issue if/when Drury is able to play or wants to play.  LTIR becomes a way of telling Drury that they can’t fit him on the roster, and since he cited his knee as an issue, they are going to say he can’t play.  I think LTIR leads to a messy divorce between the Rangers and Drury.

Update 2:45pm: This saga will continue until Thursday at 5pm. Please read above.

Drury’s Knee May Prevent Buyout

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?

Drury to be Bought Out

According to reports coming from Jesse Spector at the Daily News, the Rangers are truly intending to buy out the final year of Chris Drury’s contract and end his disappointing and expensive stay on Broadway. Thanks to the NHL contract buy out window of June 15-30, the move, if it does indeed happen, is expected to happen soon and will mean the Rangers have even more ‘playing room’ when the club gets to July 1st.

Drury has been a massive disappointment on the ice as a Ranger. While it wasn’t his fault for taking the ridiculous contract offered to him a few summers ago (every Ranger fan, capable player or not would have taken it) he simply couldn’t live up to his contract or even his former glories at Colorado and Buffalo. Rangers’ fans never saw much of ‘Captain Clutch’ at any stage of his Rangers tenure.

As with any move that the Rangers make prior to July, how does this affect the Brad Richards scenario? Well simply put, the Rangers have more margin for error when it comes to a contract offer. That one fact may make many Rangers fans nervous if Glen Sather decides to get Richards at all costs. As discussed here countless times, Richards is absolutely what the Rangers need, but whether he should come at any cost is highly debatable.

Back to Drury. The current  Rangers captain had an awful season last year as he only managed a single goal and four assists in his injury shortened campaign, which offered no hope at any stage that he could get back to his old level. Not everything Drury has done in NY has been bad though. He may be a bland interview, but he was respected throughout the dressing room, he had a great relationship with the coaching staff, and he seemed to be a great connect between the players and staff. A great defensive player who gave up his body to stop a shot, Drury was a rare Ranger that was efficient in the faceoff circle. Will it be Richards that replaces Drury’s veteran presence and face off skills? Only time will tell. Assuming the reports of Drury’s buyout are true of course.

Cap Increasing; Increases Rangers Likelihood of Spending Spree?

Any Rangers fans that thought the Rangers would be relatively inactive during the free agent frenzy starting July 1st, well you were probably going to be wrong and if you weren’t wrong before the news broke about an increasing cap limit then you certainly are now.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, speaking at a Lawyers’ conference in D.C. recently discussed the increase in league revenues and he also made mention of likely cap increases. The revenue for the league expects to rise, close to $3 billion, up from $2.7 billion.

“It appears our salary cap will be going up.” Projects new cap will be $60.5M to $63.5M, up from $59.4M this yr.

So, looking at the middle ground as a safe bet the cap could be close to $62m, up considerably from the current limit of £59.4 million. What does this mean for the Rangers? Well simply put, potentially a great deal. The Rangers do have important roster players to re-sign in Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Boyle (among others) yet looking specifically at Callahan and Dubinsky – even if they more than double their salaries there will be a lot of money left. This cap increase of course has a knock on effect throughout the line up. Chris Drury’s potential buy out becomes easier to absorb (making it more likely?), Wojtek Wolski and players such as Erik Christensen’s future may also be under threat. So much, so many players are affected by the final cap figure.

The Rangers have a big decision to make. If Sather and his team think the core is set and it ‘merely’ needs some top level talent added to it to become a serious contender in the East you may indeed see the likes of Drury jettisoned. With the extra cap space Drury’s departure creates, in addition to the cap space created by the truly awful circumstances around Derek Boogaard the Rangers may become very aggressive in free agency. Given Sather’s free agent dealings in the past however, that makes many fans nervous and for good reason when you think of Redden, Wade and Gomez, Scott to name a few. Of course the Rangers may not be active in free agency……. (Tumbleweed)

The Rangers are almost certainly going to go after Brad Richards. The extra cap space the aforementioned cap fall out creates could see Sather also go after a defenseman such as Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Kaberle, James Wisniewski or Joni Pitkanen to name a few. Of course all this speculation about cap space then spirals out of control. Would the Rangers consider going after restricted free agents? Cap space, depth in the organisation and picks may allow Sather to deal for a star such as Shea Weber or an underperforming elite talent such as Zach Bogosian. The mind wanders with all this talk of spending money. All that is left is for the cap figure to be finalised and to watch what Sather does next. Nervous?

 

Thoughts and Musings; Jagr Anyone?

Thoughts and Musings time once again. As we get deeper into the Rangers’ off season more and more rumours and players names will get circulated. If they do, we’ll discuss them. For now, put up with me.

Let’s not pussy foot around: Jaromir Jagr. If Selanne can do it, I sure as hell believe Jagr can. He can make plays and if he has kept himself in good condition then he can still be a 50 point player for an NHL club. The question for me is dollars. If he truly just wants to return to the big league (don’t forget he was the first NHL player to earn $100m) then he’ll play for a sensible amount. He makes sense for the Rangers. He can help Gaborik and do not forget the chemistry he and Dubinsky had. Don’t think he can help Dubi go to a higher level now he’s maturing? Think again. Jagr makes sense short term.

I’m revising for end of year exams, the first of which is a week today. Study is not going well. Twitter, the Rangers and my dog are significant distractions!

Ryan Callahan is a 50 point player whether the Rangers bring in a Jagr type vet or not. He’s becoming one of the top 10-20 all-round players in the league all things considered. What are those things?  Physicality, leadership, effort, two way ability, skill, hustle, defensive conscience, hitting and attitude.

Chris Drury; I will personally donate a small amount from my personal ‘fortune’ to charity should you choose to retire. That is all.

So how was the World Championship for our Rangers? Mixed. Stepan has really kicked on and it will have helped him. McDonagh will benefit from the experience as will Kreider but it was another ‘mixed’ occasion for Gaborik. He needs to take a big deep breath this off season before heading back to NYC.

I’ve given some thought to someone’s recent idea of moving Brian Boyle. If a team is willing to give up something good to get him, I’d consider it. I like him a lot, love his size and dedication but I’d rather Richards-Stepan-Anisimov down the middle and get something for Boyle rather than waste him on the 4th line. If you can get a good pick or prospect for him, do it?

I need a holiday, preferably soon. Why can’t the Rangers play in July/August?!

I am repeatedly amazed at the ability of Sean Avery to be a newsworthy sports athlete in spite of his sport. He hasn’t been newsworthy on the ice for a good while yet here he is being a huge topic of conversation once again this past week. I’m more intrigued to follow his post NHL career than his current one and I’m a big Avery fan.

I think Mike Del Zotto has a bounce back year next season (lord does he AND the Rangers need it). He would instantly solve a big headache for the Blueshirts if he can find his form once more. This team is defensively better equipped now, to allow him so leeway too.

Who is the most irrelevant Ranger of the season? Jeremy Williams or Chad Johnson?

Speaking of Chad; been nice knowing you kiddo. You were still worth the low pick that we gave the Penguins. 6 games played, 2.59 GAA, .911 save percentage… not bad pick up, was worth the ‘risk’. Yes, I think he is not re-signed.

So what position do the Rangers draft this June? Do you think they draft up or down or stay pat?! I’d like to see them move down and accumulate assets (picks or prospects) unless there’s another ‘can’t pass up kind of guy’ falling to them.

The curious case of Vinny Prospal. How much will he ask for to return? He wants to come back, and you have to assume he knows he’s not a priority. If you can have Jagr and you already have Fedotenko and Prospal – who do you choose of the three? One or more? Depends on which prospects the Rangers think are ready. I don’t think Prospal or Feds have a contract any time soon, that’s for sure.

Please, Rangers fans, no one suggest this summer the idea of another season of Nik Zherdev. Thank you.