June 17, 2011
Last week, it was reported that the New York Rangers would mercifully buy out the last season of Chris Drury's(notes) lamentable 5-year, $35.25 million contract, taking part of that cap space-devouring deal off the books this summer.
What, you really thought it was going to be that easy?
Larry Brooks of the NY Post broke the news today that the Rangers won't be buying out Drury because they can't buy out Drury: He reportedly has a "degenerative condition" in his left knee and can't have his contract bought out as an injured player, per the CBA.
From the Post:
The inability to buy out an injured player means that Drury's full $7.05 million charge will remain on the Blueshirts' summer cap, which can exceed the 2011-12 season cap by 10 percent. Under terms of the CBA, the captain will have to report to training camp in September for the team physical. If Drury fails, as would be expected, he would qualify for a long-term injury (LTI) exemption when the season begins and the roster is set.
But in order to gain the full value of the $7.05 million exemption, the Rangers would have to go that far over the cap. In other words, if the cap is $62.5 million (an estimation before it is officially established by June 30), the team would have to get to $69.5 million (including Drury) before the season-opener in Stockholm to reap the full LTI benefit.
Is retirement an option if Drury's condition is that dire? Please recall Markus Naslund retiring instead of taking a buy out in 2009, saving the Rangers an extra $1 million in cap space that summer.
Injuries and buyouts have a nasty little history since the lockout. Glen Murray fought a Boston Bruins buyout in 2008, claiming he was still recovering from a major ankle injury at the time. That fight went on for a year before an arbitrator sided with the Bruins. Defenseman David Tanabe of the Carolina Hurricanes was given a buy out in 2008 but the NHLPA filed a grievance saying he was still suffering from a concussion. Tanabe and the Canes reached a settlement that October.
As for Drury … boy, just when you thought that contract couldn't become more regrettable …