NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Rangers reportedly want to buy out captain Chris Drury’s contract, but according to the New York Post, they won’t be able to.
Why? Because of a degenerative knee condition that will “render him medically unable to play next season.”
“While Drury has yet to file the necessary paperwork, sources report he plans to do so,” reported the paper. “The Rangers, who had been planning a buyout, could file a grievance against Drury, but that is a remote possibility, at best.”
If the Rangers could buy out the final season of Drury’s five-year, $35.25 million contract, as they allegedly planned to do, he would become a free agent. New York would be on the hook for just $3.7 million in cap space heading into the signing period — and a $1.6 million hit in 2012-13.
Instead, the Rangers will face difficulty clearing salary for a run at top free agent Brad Richards. The price tag will likely be steep — as will the cap space needed to sign him.
“Dru is getting older,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said just days after New York’s playoff ouster. “That’s why he has this chronic knee. It’s certainly not my total decision (on Drury’s future) but I have my thoughts.”
Drury, whose 12-year career in the NHL is likely over, was sidelined for two months after knee surgery in February. He returned and scored a key goal in New York’s regular-season finale — a win that put the Blueshirts in the playoffs.
“This is something, honestly, that we have to look at as far as where does he fit now,” Tortorella said. “We are going young. With older guys, those are conversations that we have to have as we continue here for the next few months.”
Teams will be able to buy out contracts starting tomorrow through June 30. After mid summer’s salary arbitration period, there will be a second, 48-hour window for buyouts.
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