The New York Post has learned that Chris Drury's buyout will become official today, ending a long speculated situation once and for all.
"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," Drury said in a statement that was sent to The Post by e-mail. "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."
Although the move was expected and necessary, it's still a sad moment for a guy who has had a great NHL career. While many of you will be more than happy about this news, and in regards to the future of the team it is a positive step, it's sad to see one of the good guys walk out the door like this.
Drury was often criticized for not living up to his immense contract, even during the first two years when he did exactly what was expected of him. Yes, he lost a significant step in the third year of his tenure, and then it got even worse last season, but that's nothing to hold against him. Remember that he allowed this buyout to happen today, that means something, that's something a captain would do for his team.
Join me after the jump for more.
On the financial side of things, the Rangers automatically make more space for tomorrow's free agency period. The Rangers will save $3.3 million this off season (which is a big deal because Wade Redden's cap hit returns), money they can use to go after Brad Richards or sign some of their own free agents. Anyway you look at it, the extra flexibility is a very good thing.
The Rangers will be on the hook for a $3.7 million cap hit this season, and they will also be charged with a $1.66 million dollar cap hit next season. That's a small price to pay, however, for flexibility walking into July 1st.
It would appear that someone like Ryan Callahan or Brandon Duubinsky (I would vote for Callahan) will become the newest Rangers' captain. It is pretty exciting to see that New York has someone young and able to fill the captain role, especially when he is home grown.
Today marks another chapter in Glen Sather and the New York Rangers attempts to make this a younger, faster and more exciting team. Sather has done a fantastic job so far, has taken care of the mistakes that he made along the way and is slowly turning this young team into a competitor.
But for now bid farewell to Drury. But be classy about it because he was always classy to us.