Rangers Analysis: Chris Drury Proving He Belongs
The Olympics does a lot of things for a player. It let's them play on a big stage--if they never have before--and it allows younger players to get experience from, what is probably, the biggest pressure games of their lives. Some players thrive, others fade like an old star.
Chris Drury has been one of those players that is thriving for the Americans, and for good reason; he is being utilized properly.
The Rangers have a horrible habit of signing players who were successful somewhere else, and then watching them not live up to expectations on Broadway. Maybe it isn't the players, maybe it's the way the team is using them. A prime example would be Scott Gomez, who the Rangers signed and expected to be the same type of player that he was for the Devils. But instead of signing a sniper to put along-side him, especially since it was so well known that he needs a goal scorer on his wing to be effective, they signed Drury. Then, when they were looking for goals, they leaned on Gomez, who didn't produce.
The same thing is going on with Drury right now, on the Rangers. When Drury did score 37 goals in Buffalo it was because he sat in front of the net and scored "gage goals." It was because the team around him had plenty of other players who could score, and it was because of the talent on that team that Drury was given space to score goals. He wasn't a first line player, so he wasn't playing there (consistently).
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On the United States team we are seeing the same thing. Drury is not on the first line, or even the second line. He is on the third line, playing against the others teams less aggressive defensive players. His role offensively is to sit inf ront of the net and block shots, he is not expected to score a ton of goals, he is just expected to play great defense and be a leader. And what do you know? The goals are coming.
Maybe the Rangers should move Drury to the third line on the Rangers. Maybe the Rangers should put him in front of the net on the power play instead of the point. Maybe the Rangers should make a move for some secondary scoring at the deadline (Nathan Horton, David Booth!).
Maybe the Rangers, and this goes for all of you fans who rip him game in and game out, shouldn't be expecting him to score a goal per game. Maybe we should be happy with his defensive play and his heart. He cares, he is a leader, and he is the closest thing we have on this team to a winning attitude.
No, he won't be removed at this trade deadline, or the next trade deadline, or even the next. He will be on this team until his contract expires. Let's try to utilize Drury properly. Move him to the third line, get some other players for everyone to worry about, and let him do his thing. Leaning on Drury to score a goal a game (even though his contract implys that he does) is foolish, and will ultimately end up in un-necessary frustration.