by J. Scott Moore
Chris Drury is about to be on the UFA market.
I'll get us started. I kinda feel sorry for Chris Drury. He's a decent top six guy that has been thrust into No. 1 line expectations. He's a character guy that's had Mark Messier expectations of leadership put on him. And now he's unemployed. Reports say the Rangers will buy out his remaining year, a cap hit of $7.05M. He's not going to be a captain for his next gig and he sure as hell ain't gonna be pulling down as much green. It's a tough fall from the pedestal he's been on since his rookie year in the NHL.
Then again, Drury is as guilty of allowing himself to be placed on high as all the hyperbole-laden fans and media that have told us how supremely talented he is. What an amazing leader he is. He's chased the money every chance he has had. And that is bound to have some repercussions.
I do believe Drury is a good hockey player and a natural leader. But he's never come close to the scoring expectations that his salary demands, and yes, that salary demands goals. Only big scorers and top goalies get that kind of money. As for the leadership, I have no doubt he was captain material for the right team. The Rangers just weren't that team. I doubt he will get another chance. Drury will have to make that tough transition into the 'veteran leader' role. He'll take a huge cut in pay (though NY will still be sending checks), hope to get on with a team that has playoff potential and pine for one more chance to play for the Cup.