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Rangers cut ties with Drury, buy out final year

NEW YORK -- The Rangers bought out the final year of captain Chris Drury's contract on Wednesday, 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.

"Chris is a consummate professional, a tremendous competitor and an even better person," Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said in a statement. "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, 34, never hit it big with the Rangers after he and fellow center Scott Gomez were signed on the same day to bolster the team's offense that was then powered by Jaromir Jagr. Neither Drury nor Gomez, who lasted only two seasons with the Rangers, meshed well on a line with Jagr, and New York was saddled by both big contracts.

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Marchant calls it a career

Anaheim Ducks center and Williamsville native Todd Marchant announced his retirement from the NHL. In 18 seasons -- the last six with the Ducks, including their 2007 championship team -- he had 186 goals and 498 points in 1,195 games. He will stay with the club as a player development coach.

A swift skater and fine penalty killer in his prime, Marchant said he "knew it was time" to go when he could no longer break away from young opponents.

"It's not an easy decision when you've been doing something you love since you're 3 years old," he said. "But I'm fortunate that I'm healthy and retiring on my own terms."

Also announcing his retirement Wednesday was former Ducks star Paul Kariya, who didn't play at all last season due to post-concussion symptoms. The 36-year-old Kariya scored 402 goals and helped set up 587 others with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis. He was also a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner.

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Around the league

*The Montreal Canadiens traded the rights to defenseman James Wisniewski to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a seventh-round pick. A condition of the deal is that if the Blue Jackets are able to sign the potential unrestricted free agent to a contract, the pick will be in the fifth round next year rather than the seventh.

*Dwayne Roloson is close to re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two sides worked to finalize a one-year contract for Roloson, a major contributor in Tampa Bay's run to the Eastern Conference finals. Roloson was acquired from the New York Islanders on Jan. 1.