It seems fitting to start the "Rangers Report Card" segment with the New York Rangers captain Chris Drury.
Drury, who just completed the fourth year of a five-year contract, had the worst season of his career this year. The injured center only tallied one goal and four assists in 24 games. He only notched a single assist in all five playoff games this season.
Let's get one thing out of the way up front: his leadership ability. More than a few people are speculating Drury was not acting like a leader this season. Most of them made that assumption because he was having a horrible year. The two really don't intertwine. Fact of the matter is, we don't know if he was a leader or not. John Tortorella made it clear he has been a leader this season, and since none of the rest of us have been in the locker room to dispute that claim we're going to have to go with it.
So for the purpose of this report card, we're going to call his leadership a wash.
But the rest of Drury will be analyzed after the jump.
The first thing you think about when you think about Drury is his goal scoring ability. I don't think anyone here realistically expected Drury to come onto the Rangers and start scoring 35+ goals a year (like he did in Buffalo), but there should have been a level of expectation for him to score around 25. He was able to accomplish that the first two years of his contract.
This season? He wasn't even close.
His single goal in 24 games played put him just over a three-goal per 82 games played season. For a guy hitting the cap at $7 million, it drew a lot of (deserved) anger from the Rangers fanbase.
The other issue Drury encountered this year was with injuries. He broke his finger in training camp, then broke the same finger right after he returned to action. Then he went on the IR because of a knee injury, returning just in time for the playoffs.
Andrew Gross put a few interesting quotes from Tortorella on the matter during the Rangers break up day:
I asked whether the respect Drury has within the organization, from his teammates, from Tortorella, and the things he brings as a captain are part of the evaluation process when it comes to determining whether to bring Drury back for the last season of his contract.
"Intangibles always come into evaluating," Tortorella said. "You just can't let the intangibles override other things, too. Dru and I have a great relationship. We've been very honest with one another. Dru is getting older. That's why he has this chronic knee and it's amazing he was able to come back when he did. But we have to make decisions for what's best for the organization moving on."
Gross later goes on to speculate that Drury might be bought out.
And while it's been speculated for a while that captain Chris Drury might be a candidate for a buyout, Tortorella said the Rangers, as an organization, would have some decisions to make on aging veterans such as Drury asVinny Prospal and Ruslan Fedotenko.
"You have to look at where does he fit?" Tortorella said, before later adding, "Dru is getting older, that's why he has a chronic knee."
Drury does have a no-movement clause in his deal so a buyout would likely be the Rangers' only option if they decide that Drury no longer fits for them.
"You have to be careful about this stuff," Tortorella said. "It's not my total decision. But I have my thoughts on it all."
That's not to say that Drury didn't bring some positives to the table this season. He was the Rangers top faceoff man in the playoffs, wining 62.9% of his draws. He also won 56.4% of faceoffs during his time in the regular season. Don't underestimate how important it is to have a guy who can win the draw, especially on the power play and in the offense zone.
It was an issue the Rangers had all season, and Drury did what he had to in the circle.
Drury was also his usual self in the defense zone. You can say whatever you want about Drury but you can't say the man doesn't hustle. He worked his butt off this season, and saw just under two minutes of penalty kill time a game. He also had no problem throwing himself in front of shots (which is how he got injured the first two times this season) and taking hits for the team.
He also had the ability to mentor some of the younger players, specifically Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan on faceoffs this season. Again, I was not at practice so I wouldn't know either way but the assumption here is that he aided the youth in any way he could.
Drury is about as classy as they come, and it's sad to see him have a season like this. But the Rangers still need to do what is best for themselves at the end of the year, and I don't know if Drury will be a part of that plan.
There are many intangibles that Drury brings to the table. To steal a quote from our good friends Sam and Joe he "does all the little things right." But this season the little things weren't enough, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was his final year as a Blueshirt.
Final Grade: D+/C- (One can assume that if he weren't injured he would have had a little better of a year, but it's a stretch. His faceoffs and penalty killing were good, but aside from that it was not a season to remember for Drury.)