NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rangers are buying out the final year of captain Chris Drury's contract, making the veteran forward an unrestricted free agent after four seasons in New York.
The move announced Wednesday will give the Rangers some salary cap relief for the upcoming season and could help them sign long-coveted Dallas Stars center Brad Richards, who is expected to be the best available player in the unrestricted free agent market that opens Friday.
Drury will be given $3.333 million for the buyout that closes the five-year, $35.25 million deal he signed with the Rangers after leaving Buffalo as a free agent in 2007.
The buyout will leave the Rangers with a salary-cap hit of $3.717 million next season and $1.667 the following season, under the current collective bargaining agreement with the NHL and the players' association. That agreement is in effect for one more season.