Chris Drury will forever be remembered as one of the two Sabres captains who left the team on the first day of free agency in 2007, along with Daniel Briere. Today, let’s take a look at the former number 23 and his time in the NHL, including three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.
Left wing, b. 1976
Acquired via trade by the Sabres, 2003
Drury’s NHL career began when he was drafted in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques with the 72nd overall selection. After being drafted, Drury spent the next four years with Boston College – so he never actually played a game with Quebec.
His first NHL experience came with the Colorado Avalanche, where he played from 1998 until 2002. He had 222 points in 314 games with the Avalanche, including a 44-point rookie season in which he won the Calder.
Then, on October 1, 2002, the Avalanche traded Drury – and Stephane Yelle – to Calgary in exchange for a trio of players: Dean McAmmond, Derek Morris and Jeff Shantz. He played the entire 2002-03 season with Calgary, racking up 53 points in 80 games with the Flames.
After that season ended, it was time for another move, this time to Buffalo. The Sabres acquired Drury on July 3, 2003, in a trade that sent Steve Reinprecht and Rhett Warrener to Calgary in exchange for Drury and Steve Begin.
Drury, of course, spent the next three seasons with the Sabres. He had 189 points in 234 regular season games with Buffalo. He also acted as team captain. Then, on July 1, 2007, Drury signed a contract with the New York Rangers, and Daniel Briere signed with the Flyers, leaving the Sabres without both of their co-captains.
After his time with Buffalo, Drury played three full seasons with the Rangers. He played just 24 games with New York in the 2010-11 season, thanks to a knee condition that kept him out most of the year. He then accepted a buyout to become a free agent before announcing his retirement in August 2011.
He appeared in the 2010 Winter Olympics, winning a silver medal with Team USA, and also played in the 2002 (silver medal) and 2006 Winter Olympics prior to that.
Other players to wear #23 for the Sabres: Ville Leino, Colin Stuart, Sean McMorrow, Bill Houlder, Randy Hillier, Jiri Sejba, Ray Sheppard, Gates Orlando, Kai Suikkanen, Ron Fischer, Hannu Virta, Sean McKenna, Bob Hess, Randy Cunneyworth, Mike Ramsey, Ken Breitenbach, Larry Carriere, Joe Noris, Eddie Shack, John Gould, Rene Robert, Paul Terbenche