New York Rangers: Former Captain Chris Drury Retires

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New York Rangers: Former Captain Chris Drury Retires
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)

Former Stanley Cup champion and New York Rangers captain Chris Drury retired from the NHL Friday after 12 seasons, according to ESPN New York.

Drury was a free agent this summer after being bought out of the final year of his Rangers contract in June and did not find another team to sign for.

The buy-out closed the book on Drury's five year, $35.25 million contract he signed with New York in 2007 after leaving the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent.

The Rangers used money saved from Drury's buyout to sign this summer's free-agent prize Brad Richards to a nine-year, $60 million deal. 

Drury, 34, battled many injuries last season and was limited to just 24 games. He also underwent knee surgery.

Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said the following about Drury after he was bought out of his Rangers contract, via ESPN:

"Chris is a consummate professional, a tremendous competitor and an even better person," Rangers general manager Glen Sather said in a statement after the team bought out Drury's contract.

"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 was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in 1994 and remained with the team when they relocated to Colorado.

He was the rookie of the year in the 1998-99 season and was a key contributor to the Avalanche's 2001 Stanley Cup championship over the New Jersey Devils.

Many hockey experts believed retirement was the likely next step in Drury's hockey life this summer, as few teams would likely be interested in a 34 year old veteran who suffered multiple broken fingers and underwent knee surgery last season.

Drury will be remembered as one of the better American hockey players of the last 15 years.

In 892 career games for the Avalanche, Flames, Sabres and Rangers, Drury scored 225 goals and tallied 615 points.

Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report, and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.

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