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Player Profile: The Captain – Chris Drury
Posted By Adam Gavriel On Dec 21 2010 @ 4:25 pm In New York Rangers | 5 Comments
I figure you can’t go too long in a player profile series without writing up a piece on your teams captain, so, here it is. Now I’m not Drury’s biggest fan in the world, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought as a Rangers fan these days. His odd comments to the media like when he told them that a loss a couple of seasons back wasn’t going to affect his vacation was an interesting choice of words. But you have to respect the guy whose had a solid career up to this point. If you can look past his cap hit compared to the points he scores and on to the other things that he does so well for the Rangers, you might like Drury a little more. I’m trying to do this game in and game out now that he’s back into the lineup. Anyways, here’s what you need to know about the captain of the New York Rangers, Chris Drury.
Weight: 191 lbs
Drafted: 3rd round (72nd overall) in 1994 by the Quebec Nordiques
NHL Experience: Currently in his 12th NHL season
Before the NHL:
I’m sure you all know the story about how Drury was Trumbull Connecticut’s dream boy as he led their little league team to the Little League World Series championship pitching for them and Drury’s fame as a clutch/big game player was born. But that’s a boring story I think, one that’s much better suited for the player profiles that air on MSG.
But like many American born hockey players Drury took the college route in order to complete his skill set on his way to a successful NHL career. Drury would spend 4 seasons at Boston University, taking over one of the Captain C’s during his senior season. During his career at BU Drury was able to take home a few awards including a championship as well as a Hobey Baker award.
Drury’s career at BU was so successful that after his fourth year at the school he was able to make the jump right to the NHL.
Drury has definitely had quite the career with USA hockey. He has represented the USA at many major tournaments including the World Junior Classic, the World Championships, and the Olympics. Drury’s selection to last years US team at the Olympics was a very debated one, but his selection proved worthy as he and fellow New York Ranger Ryan Callahan became the teams top defensive forwards as well as it’s top PK unit leading the United States to the gold medal game where they fell short in overtime against the Canadians. In his 18 appearances for the US at the Olympics Drury has been able to record 2 goals and 3 assists.
This is a different player profile for me as most of the other ones I have done have been for young players just beginning their NHL career, or veterans whose successes have mostly been with the Ranges. However, Drury’s NHL career which now spans 872 games and 4 different NHL franchises; so it is no surprise to understand that most of Drury’s NHL success has come with other franchises.
Drury broke into the NHL in the 98-99 season with the Avalanche at the height of their franchise. The rivalry with the Red Wings and Patrick Roy in net, the Avalanche after moving from Quebec were a very popular and successful team. His rookie season saw him score 20 goals and add 24 assists in the process of obtaining the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s best rookie. It was in the 00-01 season that Drury made his biggest splash with the Avalanche helping them get to, and eventually win, the Stanley Cup. Drury scored 11 goals in 23 playoff games which was second on his team only behind Sakic to help the Avalanche obtain the cup. Drury was an instrumental part of the team helping veterans Sakic, Bourque, Forsberg and goalie Roy win the cup.
Drury was traded to the flames before the 02-03 season where he played 1 season, and was traded again the following year this time to the Buffalo Sabres, where Drury was a key part to the Sabres success. Drury was a team captain in all of his seasons with Buffalo where he enjoyed great success. The Sabres made the playoffs in 2 out of the 3 seasons Drury spent with Buffalo, including the 06-07 year. This year pains me the most as a Rangers fan as I felt it was the Rangers best shot at a Stanley cup since the new millennium began. I know we all remember the goal he scored with 7.7 seconds left in game 5 to send the game to Overtime. Without that goal the Rangers would have taken a commanding 3-2 series lead in aspirations to clinch what was a great playoff series. The double OT Rozsival goal in game 3 to save the series for the Rangers is still one of my favorites ever as a Rangers fan. Still hold a very very sour spot in my NHL franchise hatred towards the Sabres for that series.
Now we all know this story too I’m sure. July 1st 2007, just weeks after he put the dagger in the hearts of Rangers fans everywhere Drury was signed to a lucrative contract on the same day that the Rangers added Scottie Gomez as well. The two most highly coveted free agents that year were now Rangers. Drury is currently in year 4 of the 5 year contract he signed that fateful summer day.
With the Rangers Drury has never really been able to recapture what had made him the 30 goal scorer he was before singing that contract. Captaining the Rangers for three out of the four years he’s been with the team, Drury has helped the team on other places of the ice while chipping in some offensive numbers as well. Not only that, but up to this season Drury had been extremely durable for the Rangers playing in 82, 81, and 77 games for the team.
His NHL successes go a long way as through his 872 career games Drury has recorded 611 career points.
Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:
After finally returning from injury Drury has played in the last three games for the Rangers and has looked very solid in all three contests. He’s gone back to doing what had made him such a successful defensive NHL forward and that’s just playing smart and safe in the defensive zone. Drury is one of the best defensive forwards the Rangers have this season and he should always have a spot on the third or fourth line for the team this year. His penalty killing is second to none and his ability to block shots without fear is an asset on the PK and in the defensive zone. I know I’m always hoping that his offensive game will come back to him but he just doesn’t seem to have that offensive spark anymore in my opinion. However even without his offensive game, and looking past his cap hit, Drury is an asset on the ice for the Rangers as well as off of it as their captain.
It’s tough to predict the future for Chris Drury with the New York Rangers. It’s no lie that his contract is a heavy burden on the team as they will have to re-sign restricted free agents and the core of the franchise Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Artem Anisimov this off-season, as well as emerging players Brian Boyle (RFA) and Mike Sauer (RFA). With Drury’s 7.05 cap hit, and Redden’s 6.5 cap hit counting against the summer cap the Rangers may find themselves in a bind with the cap situation.
The Rangers may find it in their best interest to buy Drury out this summer. Meaning that only half of his cap hit would count against the Rangers cap for next season, and the year after that. Conversely, they may feel it’s better for the organization to have Drury on the team for next season and then re-negotiate a newer contract when his runs out after the 11-12 season.
Drury has a no movement clause which makes it impossible for the Rangers to pursue a trade for him without his consent. It’s also interesting to note that even though his cap hit is only 7.05 million, Drury’s contract calls for him to (only) be paid $5 million. So if the Rangers can gain his consent to move him they might find a way to trade Drury to a team looking to reach the Cap Floor while still not taking on a huge salary (New York Islanders???)
In any case, it should be interesting to see how Drury’s career with the New York Rangers ends. Hopefully, with him being called to a podium at center ice by Gary Bettman…Hey, a guy can dream…right?
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