Chris Drury Being Bought out by Rangers? Could He Return to the Avalanche?

Kevin GoffContributor IJune 9, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Chris Drury #23 of the New York Rangers skates in warmups prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Jonathan Klein/Getty Images)
Jonathan Klein/Getty Images

According to a report released by today, the New York Rangers are considering buying out the last year team captain Chris Drury's contract.

The 34-year-old Drury, who will be 35 before the start of next season, was limited in action this year due to injury.

He played in only 24 games, scored only one goal (which happened to be in the last game of the season to the Rangers clinch a playoff spot) and had four assists.  A very disappointing season all-in-all.

If the Rangers were to buy Drury out of his contract, Drury would become an unrestricted free agent, capable of signing with whomever he pleases.

So, if Chris Drury does become available, would it make sense for the Colorado Avalanche to try and snap him up?

The first question to answer regarding a return to the Avalanche would have to be: What kind of contract he would get?

Drury, as I mentioned, is going to be turning 35 this offseason and is coming off of the least productive season of his career.

He is scheduled to make $5 million in the last year of his contract but will very likely not command the same sort of money that he did when he initially signed with the Rangers.

This is due to three things. First, he's coming off the least productive season of his career.

Second, he was injured most of this season.

Third, he's much older and his chances of scoring up to 30 goals are not very good.

That being said, the Avalanche really won't have to worry too much about what kind of contract he is going to want, as they will have close to $30 million in cap space to deal with when free agency begins.

Next question to consider is whether or not this is even a good idea.

Drury's 35, and he doesn't really fit the mold of the Avalanche mantra of "building from within." Plus, the Avalanche are already pretty heavy at the center position.

Sure, he's a former Avalanche player, but he's older and seems to be in the twilight of his career.

On the other hand, he would be accepted by Avalanche fans immediately as many of us were devastated when he was traded away.

He has captained two different NHL teams (Rangers and Sabres), so you know his leadership abilities are completely unquestioned. It might not even be outlandish to suggest that Drury could become the next captain of the Avalanche.

It would help to have another veteran player on the roster for the younger guys to look up to and learn from.

Plus, Drury's career has been a picture of consistency, and not just from a productivity standpoint. 

This season was the only season in Drury's entire career that has seen him play fewer than 70 games, and his career low in games played before this was 71.

On a team that was absolutely devastated by injury last year, it's nice to know that there is that kind of consistency.

So in the end, even though he's much older, bringing Chris Drury back to the Avalanche seems to have more positives than negatives.

So let's jump into the future and say that the Avalanche do sign Chris Drury—what would be his role with the team?

Obviously, Drury would not come in and be that first line center that is going to rack up points all over the place.

I would most likely compare his role to be similar to that of Manny Malhotra, for the Vancouver Canucks.

Drury would be a third or fourth line center who sees time on the penalty kill and on defensive zone face-offs.

Drury has always been very proficient at taking face-offs, and it would be good to be able to switch between Drury and Stastny depending on the side of the ice.

This type of role might also give us a bit of an idea about the kind of contract he would get as well, since he definitely isn't the 39 goal scorer he was in Buffalo.

All things considered, Chris Drury could have a positive impact on the Avalanche if he were to be re-signed.

He's a great leader, is already loved by the Avalanche community, has won championships with the Avalanche before, could help improve the horrendous Avalanche penalty kill, and is an all around good guy.

It's possible that the Avalanche might give him a chance to come back to the place where he was not only rookie of the year, but a Stanley Cup Champion, but it might be a bit of a stretch.

Either way, I'll always be a fan of Chris Drury.