Reports earlier Thursday that Rangers captain Chris Drury will most definitely have the final year of his contract bought out are premature, according to a source.
It's a complicated situation. Drury has $5 million in salary coming to him for next season, so there's almost no chance he's retiring. The Rangers are ready to move in a different direction and try to save some of the $7.05-million in cap space Drury would occupy for next year. If he's bought out, his cap hit for 2011-12 would be $3.667 million, a significant savings. There would be a $1.667-million cap hit for 2012-13.
Rangers president Glen Sather has until June 30 to decide on buyouts. There is also the matter of the numerous restricted free agents the Rangers have, nearly all of whom are arbitration-eligible. If the team or the player opts for arbitration -- the deadlines are July 5 for player-elected and July 6 for team-elected -- hearings are held from July 20-Aug. 4, with decisions rendered by Aug. 6. At that point the Rangers would have a further buyout period.
Plus, there's the option that the Rangers could get Drury to waive his no-movement clause for a trade -- presumably for a player signed to a similarly overpriced deal, but for a longer term, that the Rangers might deem useful. The other team would want a veteran leader to bridge the gap for a year and try to revive his career.
So, there's a lot in play right now, and none of it is set in stone, the source said.
That's not to say Drury won't be bought out. What seems certain is that his days as a Ranger are over, however that will be sorted out in the coming weeks.
As for Wojtek Wolski, whom a report said would not be bought out, the same source said nothing's been decided there either.