Friday, June 17, 2011

Rangers Cannot Buy Out Drury's Final Year Due to Knee; Time To Retire?

For those who got all excited about the various reports last week that Chris Drury was going to be bought out by the Rangers, today comes cold water on the whole thing.  Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports the Rangers cannot buy out the final season of Drury’s contract because of a degenerative condition in his left knee that could render him medically unable to play next season.

It was this condition that caused his knee to be in such bad shape this season and miss virtually the entire second half before returning in the regular season finale and playoffs.
While Drury has yet to file the necessary paperwork, sources report he plans to do so. The Rangers, who had been planning a buyout, could file a grievance against Drury, but that is a remote possibility, at best.
The option now is to put Drury on Long-Term Injured Reserve, but that does not make the cap issues easy as Brooks points out.
But in order to gain the full value of the $7.05 million exemption, the Rangers would have to go that far over the cap. In other words, if the cap is $62.5 million (an estimation before it is officially established by June 30), the team would have to get to $69.5 million (including Drury) before the season-opener in Stockholm to reap the full LTI benefit.
If Drury is going to be medically unable to play next season it is likely that his career is over in the NHL and would potentially set the stage for him to have one last act of leadership in retiring to leave the Rangers in a better position for next season.