|Original Image Credit: NYDailyNews.com|
Late night update, but Larry Brooks reported in the New York Post earlier today that the Rangers will in fact be buying out the final year of Chris Drury's contract, and are also expected to bring back Wojtek Wolski and Sean Avery next season.
Brooks said that it's unclear right now if Chris Drury will retire or try to continue his career elsewhere, but I have to believe Drury will try and catch on with another team. If Drury was going to retire, I tend to think he would've just retired as a Ranger rather than go through the embarrassment of the Rangers buying out their team captain. Drury has always been a classy guy, and judging from his comments and actions at the end of last season it seems like he still believes he can play hockey. Whether any other team out there does is a question that will be answered in the offseason. I have a friend who is a Sabres fan and he already was floating the question around on Twitter if Sabres fans would want to bring Drury back to Buffalo. First, though, Drury will need to prove that he's actually healthy and that his knee problems are behind him. It's also a matter of if Drury is willing to put his ego aside and sign for way less than he's earned in a long, long time.
Jesse Spector also confirmed Larry Brooks' report in the New York Daily News that Chris Drury will no longer be a Ranger by the end of the month, and even quoted a team source who said, "He's gone."
Meanwhile, the news that Sean Avery and Wojtek Wolski will be brought back is somewhat surprising. I'm not as much surprised by Avery being brought back as I am with Wolski, who will make $3.8 million next season. Wolski seemed to be lost at times late last season, had his ice time cut and was even a healthy scratch for a few games. John Tortorella was clearly frustrated with Wolski because he's the type of player who has the offensive talent to be a solid goal scorer, but just has a hard time putting it together. Part of me thinks that maybe Sather fully intends to buy out Wolski by the end of the month, but first wants to see if he can find another team who can take him off the Rangers' hands in a draft day trade or something.
Buying out Avery wouldn't have made sense to me. Even as a fourth liner or 13th forward on the roster, only half of his $3.875 million will count towards the cap since the Rangers claimed Avery on re-entry waivers. So, paying $1.9 million for a guy who has shown that he can really be an effective player when his head is in the game, I don't think it's that big of an anchor weighing the team down the way Drury or Wolski is. We've all seen the type of difference Avery can make when he plays with that edge, and he knows this is his last shot with the Rangers, and maybe the NHL altogether, to show he can still play like the old Sean Avery.