Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rangers Make Drury Buyout Official

The New York Rangers made official, what we have known since this morning, the buyout of captain Chris Drury.

Here is the press release:


–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.

Video Parody of Rangers Negotiations With Brad Richards

Bloge Salming and Down Goes Brown teamed up for a hilarious parody of what the Brad Richards negotiations will look like come Friday.  The funniest, and saddest part about the parody is this is what most Rangers fans feel free agent negotiations go like with New York.

Via Down Goes Brown:

Drury To Be Bought Out Today

After weeks of speculation about what would happen with Chris Drury and the final year of his contract, the speculation ends today as does his New York Rangers career.  Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports the Rangers will officially buy Drury out of the final season of his five-year, $35.05 million contract and save $3.33 million against the 2011-12 salary cap.  Players with no-movement clauses have the ability to reject waivers and that is what Drury did, so he will not be waived today and instead head straight to buyout process.  The Rangers will still carry $3.7 million against the cap this season and $1.67 million during the 2012-13 season.

Drury sent a statement to the NY Post as well.

"It was a great honor and privilege to be a New York Ranger for the past four years, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream. The Rangers are a first-class organization with great people in the hockey, public relations, team services and community relations departments.

"I would also like to thank Ranger fans. They always inspired me to do the best I could in whatever role I was asked to play. Playing before them in the Garden was a thrill of a lifetime. I wish all the fans and the entire Ranger organization the best of luck in the future."

The fact that Drury could never live up to the expectations of the contract he was given by Glen Sather was not his fault and it is sad to see it end this way.  Due to Drury being bought out instead of retiring or spending the season on LTIR, he will have the opportunity to sign with another team and keep his career going.  Either way today ends his career with the Rangers.

Are The Buffalo Sabres Brad Richards Perfect Fit?

The consensus among most out there is that the main competitors for free agent Brad Richards are the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs with the Tampa Bay Lightning there as a team Richards would love to play for if they can figure it out.  Yesterday, Blue Seat Blogs examined what other teams could be involved in the running for the free agent center, but I would add one more to the list; the Buffalo Sabres. 

Since the day that Terry Pegula was announced as the owner of the Sabres I have been waiting for him to use his fortune to make a flashy move that sends ripples through the NHL.  He has made moves like trading for Brad Boyes and taking on the contracts of Ales Kotalik to acquire Robyn Reghr late last week, but nothing that screams going for a title.  Signing Brad Richards would certainly be that sort of move. 

Mentally I discounted the move after the Sabres took money owed to Reghr and Kotalik last week, but after talking about it with James Wrabel I looked closer at the numbers and Buffalo has the ability to make it work.  The lack of need to fill the rest of the roster with large salaries, the inexpensiveness of their restricted free agents and potential prospects to fill certain spots makes the money they have to add smaller than it might seem.  Add to that the fact they have salaries like Ales Kotalik that they can bury in the minors if the need arises and the cap is not an issue for the Sabres. 

Joe Yerdon of Pro Hockey Talk broke down potential suitors for Richards earlier this month and included Buffalo with the following explanation..
Buffalo Sabres: With Terry Pegula owning the team and a guy like Tim Connolly coming off the books the Sabres are in desperate need of a playmaking center to help Derek Roy out. If Pegula wants to make a splash, finding a way to convince Richards to come to town would be a huge coup. Having Richards line up with guys like Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville would make the Sabres a serious offensive threat.
As Yerdon is alluding to, the Sabres have the opportunity to give Richards just about everything he has said he wants in his next team.  Pegula is the stable owner that he wants.  Buffalo is a smaller market with less scrutiny than he would be getting in Toronto or New York. With a forward group consisting of names like Richards, Vanek, Roy, Staffod, Pominville, Boyes, Ennis, Gerbe there is plenty of offense.  Reghr, Myers, Leopold, Gragnani is not the greatest defense corps ever, but it is solid and Ryan Miller gives them a goalie capable of winning a Stanley Cup.

The fact that Buffalo can offer Richards stability and a chance to win without the scrutiny he would get in New York or Toronto seems to make them the ideal option for the 31-year-old center to sign on with, if they want him.  So while everyone is focused on New York or Toronto as the only places for Brad Richards, I am going to keep one eye to another team in the state of New York.