Chris ‘effin Drury. Any discussion about his play, earnings, and role as the captain always brings many different opinions along with many different ideas as to what to do with the former "captain clutch." When evaluating players I try to take as much Ranger fan out of me as possible and judge with an objective and statistically dependant perspective. With that said, I can honestly say that Drury had statistically his worst season as a professional hockey player.
Follow me after the jump for specifics.
#23 / Center / New York Rangers
Aug 20, 1976
|2009 - Chris Drury||77||14||18||32||-10||31||2||0||1||0||148||9.5|
What we liked: Drury excels on the penalty kill and in the faceoff circle along with playing important defensive minutes against top competition. In defense of his mostly defensive style, Drury started in his own zone just more than 60 percent of the time; the most of any forward that played at least 50 games with the Rangers this past season. He also led the team in Blocked Shots per 60 minutes of ice time, followed closely by Ryan Callahan. Drury competes every game and flat out wants to win every game as well almost to the point where he tries too hard.
What we didn't like: His contract in the end is Glen Sather's fault, but he's just plain over-rated. He had his worst season in the league points wise all while being one of the worst relative-rated forwards on the team (min. 50 GP). His corsi numbers are nothing special and in all honesty his days as a difference maker may well be dwindling quickly. I highly doubt Drury's offensive abilities are ever going to completely resurface, so it's just a tough 8-million dollar pill to swallow for a second-line two way center with inconsistent offensive contributions.
Highlight Play/Game: Drury never had more than 2 points in a game all year and never scored more than one goal either. But, he got hot going into Christmas and his goal against the Panthers in a 4-1 win on December 23rd helped the Blueshirts win their fourth straight at the time. As for his best play of the year? This is my personal favorite because of the sheer difficulty, creativity, and athleticism it took:
Final thoughts: The funny thing I have always found about Drury since he came to NY was the perceptions and expectations that he was the missing link or something. I no doubt had some high hopes as well, but looking back now I think we all set him up to fail from the start unless we saw a Stanley Cup rolling down Manhattan somewhere. Using his four years at Boston University in Hockey East for the League Translations, Drury's average season should be somewhere around 45 points a year (0.56 ppg). To date, Drury has a career ppg of 0.7; which essentially suggests that "captain clutch" has been quite the over-achiever (statistically) in his NHL career. Even last year (08-09), when most were upset with him for one reason or another, he put up 0.69 ppg (56 points in 81 games) - otherwise known as a normal year for Drury.
What's the point to all of that? I would say that we need to stop judging Drury by his contract if we all want to stay sane. I've had a couple of people tell me over the course of the year that they wished Sather had dealt Drury instead of Gomez. The problem is I think many GM's around the league knew and now know that Drury's offensive abilities are dwindling with his age (which shouldn't shock anyone). The complete game that Drury plays - one that requires him to often skate 200 feet once or twice - doesn't allow him to float around like, for instance, 39 year old Bill Guerin and put up 50 points. That's not Chris Drury hockey, and I don't see him changing anytime soon. Honestly, if I was Torts, I would toy with putting Drury in a 3rd or 2nd line role with creative young wingers to see if any offense can be sparked. The worst that will happen is he plays solid defensive hockey per usual and mentors some great prospects.
P.S. - After next season the final year of his contract is only a cap hit of around 5 million! That's it! What a deal...
So what do you think of the year Drury had? Think he still has any offense in the tank? What about my theories? Let's hear it...