New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather is prepared to buy out the final season of Chris Drury's five-year, $35.25 million contract, according to a report in the New York Daily News, which cites an anonymous source.
"He's gone," the source told the Daily News.
The move will save the Rangers $3.3 million against next season's salary cap and cost them $1.6 million in 2012-13.
If they also buy out winger Wojtek Wolski -- which also would save $3.3 million next season (and $666,667 in 2012-13) -- the Rangers would have enough money to possibly pursue Dallas Stars center Brad Richards and other top-flight free agents.
The salary cap is expected to rise from $59.4 million to somewhere in the range of $60 million to $63 million, but the Rangers have seven restricted free agents. Of those, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky likely will be due the most significant raises.
Dubinsky, a Group II free agent, is said to be seeking a multiyear deal worth $4.5 million per season, according to the New York Post.
Drury, 34, had just one goal and four assists in 2011-12 because of finger and knee injuries, which forced him to miss 58 games.
The league window to buy out players runs June 15-30.
The Rangers signed Drury to the massive deal prior to the 2007-08 season, hoping he would bring offensive production and leadership up front. But after recording 25 goals and 58 points in his first season, Drury's production declined.
He had 56 points in 2008-09, but wound up with just 37 points in his next two seasons combined.
"Intangibles always come into evaluating. You just can't let the intangibles override other things, too," Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the season. "Dru and I have a great relationship with one another. Dru is getting older. That's why he has this chronic knee (problem). And it's amazing that he was able to come back when he did. You have to make decisions based on what's best for the organization moving on. We have to be careful with all this stuff here."
ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo contributed to this report.
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