It's never easy to watch once great players slowly decay. Whether it's Mark Messier, Brendan Shanahan, or Chris Drury, you try to respect the entire body of work before thinking about booing or writing take down pieces. Unfortunately, in hockey as in life, all good things must come to an end.
For Drury, things are coming to an end much quicker than anyone initially anticipated. He has long been a model athlete. He's won pretty much everywhere he's been, he is a true warrior in crunch time, and he's always done it all with the professionalism and the class of a Derek Jeter...and this is coming from a long suffering Mets fan.
I never expected Drury to live up to his 5 year/$35.2 million contract, but I didn't expect him to only give us two good years either. Unfortunately, due to injuries, piss poor luck, and the sands of time, two good years is all we are going to get from Chris. He is still a capable NHL player, but he isn't even worth half of his $7M cap hit at this point.
Perhaps on a more talented team that doesn't always need to block shots or bang and crash to be effective, he could resuscitate his career or at least not be booed in his own building. Though, given his $5M salary next season, his no movement clause, and his 0 goals before injury, it's highly unlikely he’ll get that chance.
So once the season ends, is it kosher to buyout your team captain?
Well, it won’t win you any favors with his agent that’s for sure, but it may be our only option if he’s not willing to hang ‘em up. It would be fantastic if Drury went the Markus Naslund route, but Naslund had a gig in the Swedish Elite League lined up and his entire family waiting for him back home in Sweden. Drury’s family is in Hoboken, NJ and Trumbull, CT, and unfortunately hockey at Chelsea Piers isn’t exactly on par with the SEL…though my team could use someone of his caliber.
Anyway, whether or not the Rangers plan on buying out Chris ultimately depends upon whether Sather is going to “stick with the kids” or is going to make a run at Brad Richards in the offseason. If Sather wants to be a shopaholic again then Drury will most definitely have to be bought out, but hopefully it won’t even come to that. Hopefully Drury sees the writing on the wall and will decide to go out on his own accord.