When the Buffalo Sabres acquired Chris Drury from the Calgary Flames on July 3, 2003, his winning pedigree had well been established.
He'd been a three-time Hobey Baker finalist at Boston University, winning the award as college hockey's top player in 1998. Drury finished his collegiate career as Boston University's all-time leading scorer with 113 goals and third on the school's all-time points list with 214.
The next season, he earned the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year, becoming the only player to win both the Hobey Baker and the Calder. He certainly became known as a clutch performer in the postseason when he scored four game-winning goals that year.
When the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2001, he set career-highs that playoff year with 11 goals and 16 points in 23 games. And in 2002, he won a silver medal with Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
On Thursday, he'll be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 with Ron DeGregorio, Angela Ruggiero and Mathieu Schneider.
Drury, a native of Trumbull, Connecticut, represented Team USA at eight major international events, including three Olympic Winter Games (2002, 2006, 2010), three IIHF Men's World Championships (1997, 1998, 2004), one World Cup of Hockey (2004) and one IIHF World Junior Championship (1996). Drury collected two Olympic silver medals in his career (2002, 2010) and one IIHF Men's World Championships bronze medal (2004) while representing the red, white and blue.
Once Drury arrived in Buffalo back in 2003, his influence and leadership made an almost immediate impact. He asked that a picture of the Stanley Cup be placed on the wall in the locker room as a reminder to everyone of what their ultimate goal was. And coming out of the lockout in 2005, the Sabres exceeded everyone's expectations.
Co-captained by Drury and Danny Briere, Buffalo made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006. He set career highs again that year with 18 playoff points (9+9) in 18 games.
He scored the overtime winner – the fourth playoff overtime goal of his career – in a wild Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators.
The injury-ravaged Buffalo squad ultimately lost to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Carolina Hurricanes.
But the Sabres roared back the next year, winning the Presidents' Trophy and setting the table for another exciting playoff run that took the city by storm.
There were certainly memorable moments that year, perhaps none better than Drury's game-tying goal against the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with 7.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
Buffalo lost to the Senators that year – once again in the Conference Finals – and Drury signed with the New York Rangers in the offseason. He'd lead them to three more Stanley Cup Playoffs berths as captain of the club.
Drury retired in 2011 after 12 seasons in which he'd recorded 255 goals and 615 points in 892 regular-season games played. He finished with 89 points (47+42) in 135 playoff games, including 17 game-winning goals.