When Chris Drury announced his retirement earlier today it brought with it flashbacks of the Markus Naslund situation. Naslund, who at the time had signed a two-year deal with the Rangers, made the decision to hang up the laces and call it a career; saving the New York Rangers precious cap space they would have used to buy him out.
In Drury's case, however, the player was bought out before he made the decision to retire, forcing the Rangers to eat the buyout consequences in the process.
On the surface, the events seem like a snub, but in reality there was probably no intent for this to happen at all. Forget Drury's time in New York, it is largely be misunderstood and unjustly intertwined with his massive contract; regardless his production with the team has nothing to do with what happened.
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In reality, Drury probably expected to get a call from other NHL teams after the buyout was made official. Regardless of what your personal opinions are of the man, he is a warrior, and didn't think the injury to his knee would end his career. When almost two months passed without any interest, reality probably sunk in, and he had to call it quits.
When Naslund made the decision, he knew he was retiring. There was also a significant amount of class involved with Naslund's move, since he could have gotten one more payday out of the deal, but he chose not to.
Obviously there's still going to be some anger towards the process, since the Rangers do have to eat over $3.7 million this season and over $1.6 million next year because of the buyout. But in the end, this situation was probably unavoidable.
The Rangers weren't going to keep Drury on the cap for $7 million a year, and Drury wasn't ready to call it a career either.
You can't really blame him, especially when some teams still need to reach the cap floor and others could use a defensive minded forward. No, Drury's game is nowhere near where it was two years ago, but injuries aside, he would still be on the Rangers if he had a $1 million cap hit. He still could have been a veteran presence in a young locker room, and could have brought leadership to a team in need.
In the end, I wish Drury the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his services with the New York Rangers.