It appears that if the Rangers intend to not have Chris Drury on their roster next season, they are going to have to find other ways to do so. Drury was not placed on waivers today, the deadline for buy out candidates, which means he is ineligible to be bought out this week.
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Steve Zipay of Newsday tweeted this moments ago, thickening the Drury buy out plot more:
From what I hear, an NHL player can be placed on 24-hour unconditional waivers tomorrow and, if not claimed, be eligible for buyout Thursday.
My understanding is that a player with a no-move clause must be notified 24 hours before a buyout and can accept or request a waiver.
This comes as a bit of a shock and fans have been lead on a bit of a roller coaster ride with this topic. It was reported a few weeks back that the Rangers had every intention of buying out their captain. Then, reports surfaced that Drury’s knee would prevent that from happening. Then, this past weekend, speculation surfaced that Drury was contemplating accepting a buy out. With today’s news that the Rangers did not place Drury on waivers, we’re left to wonder the captain’s future.
So, what does this all mean? Where do the Rangers stand? Let’s count the ways:
1) If the Rangers intend to do so, they can take one of their RFA’s to salary arbitration thus opening up another buy out period in August. This would be the only way the Rangers could buy out Drury’s contract. GM Glen Sather has stated he doesn’t plan on signing any of the team’s RFA’s right away to ensure there is maximum cap space available.
2) Sticking Drury on LTIR during training camp, giving the Rangers the ability to use the entire $7.05 million cap hit at their disposal. However, if Drury’s knee improves at any point during the year, and the Rangers insist on keeping him on LTIR, then the Rangers could have a messy situation on theirs hands, one that could involved grievances and/or the NHLPA getting involved.
3) Drury could walk away from his last year of his contract and retire, wiping his cap hit completely off the books. Unless Drury’s knee condition is so severe, I don’t see this scenario happening. $7 million is a lot to walk away from. Add to it the uncertainty of your future and it is extremely tough.
4) Would a team in need of reaching the salary cap floor take a 1-year gamble on Drury and his knee? It is an option, but not a very plausible one. If healthy, he could be a very serviceable piece to a team that needs a faceoff/PK specialist. But, Drury’s health and game deteriorated greatly this past season.
Will Drury be with the Rangers come next season? I don’t believe so. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers make this happen.