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Rangers to buy out final year of Drury's contract

by Adam Kimelman
The New York Rangers have bought out the final year of Chris Drury's contract, making the team captain an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Drury, who signed a five-year, $35.25 million contract with the Rangers on July 1, 2007, will count count approximately $3.716 million against the 2011-12 salary cap, and about $1.667 million in 2012-13.

"Chris is a consummate professional, a tremendous competitor and an even better person," Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said in a team-issued statement. "He gave his heart and soul to the Rangers organization in his time here and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Drury had told the New York Post in an e-mail earlier Thursday that he would not apply for a medical exemption to avoid being bought out and would waive the no-movement clause in his contract. Drury could have applied for an exemption based on an injured left knee.

"It was a great honor and privilege to be a New York Ranger for the past four years, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream," Drury wrote in his e-mail. "The Rangers are a first-class organization with great people in the hockey, public relations, team services and community relations departments.

"I would also like to thank Ranger fans. They always inspired me to do the best I could in whatever role I was asked to play. Playing before them in the Garden was a thrill of a lifetime. I wish all the fans and the entire Ranger organization the best of luck in the future."

Drury, 34, suffered through an injury-riddled 2010-11 season that saw him spend most of it on injured reserve due to a twice-broken left index finger and arthroscopic knee surgery. He had just 1 goal and 5 points in 24 games, and 1 assist in five playoff games.

In four seasons, Drury had 62 goals and 89 points in 264 games, and 4 goals in 21 playoff games. It was hoped Drury and Scott Gomez, who signed a seven-year, $51.5 million deal the same day, would be a dynamic 1-2 punch up the middle. Instead, Gomez was traded in June 2009 and now Drury is gone, as well.

In 892 NHL games with the Avalanche, Flames, Sabres and Rangers, Drury has 255 goals and 360 assists. He won the 1999 Calder Trophy and a Stanley Cup in 2002 with the Avalanche.
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