Chris Drury has a terrible contract for many reasons.
The five-year, $35.25 million deal he signed with the New York Rangers in 2007 carried with it an absurd $7.05 million cap hit, which begged for fans to calculate dollars-per-goal figures to reinforce how overpaid Drury was. But it also obscured the positive aspects of the Rangers captain's game, raising expectations that his performance would be worth the price tag.
According to Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News, the final year of that contract will be nullified by the Rangers. After much speculation, Spector's source says that Drury is "gone" from the Blueshirts once the buyout period begins on June 15.
Buying out Drury would save the Rangers $3.3 million against next year's salary cap, with a $1.6 million charge to the Blueshirts' ledger in 2012-13. The Blueshirts also appear likely to buy out the remaining year on midseason pickup Wojtek Wolski's deal, saving another $3.3 million next season while incurring a $666,667 charge in 2012-13.
The salary-cap space that the Rangers create during the buyout window will be vital to their pursuit of top free agent Brad Richards, or other upgrades should they fail to land the All-Star center.
Drury missed 58 games with injuries this season, and his points-per-game average was a career-low 0.21. (His single goal in 24 games made his goals-per-game average 0.04. For perspective, defenseman John Erskine of the Capitals was at 0.05 goals per game.)
Drury turns 35 this summer and obviously is in the twilight of his playing days. But he's a character guy who does a lot of little things right and can play on special teams.
He can still be an asset for the right team — and for a more appreciable price.