By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 27: July 3, 2003 – The Sabres trade Rhett Warrener and Steven Reinprecht to Calgary for Chris Drury and Steve Begin.
Chris Drury was considered one of hockey’s big winners even before he arrived in Buffalo. Nothing he did here changed that reputation. The center was the first player ever to win both the Hobey Baker Award, which went to college hockey’s top player, and the Calder Trophy, which was awarded to the NHL’s top rookie. He was a great addition to the Colorado Avalanche, and Drury earned a Stanley Cup ring there in 2001.
It was a surprise when Drury was traded to Calgary in 2002, but he still finished third on the team in scoring. The Flames were under .500 in 2002-03, so they made Drury available when they had the chance to acquire Rhett Warrener – who grew up in neighboring Saskatchewan. A three-team deal was completed.
By 2006, Drury was a big reason why the Sabres emerged as a NHL power. He had 30 goals and 37 points as the team reached the Conference Finals. The center was even better in 2006-07 (37 goals) as the Sabres won the President’s Trophy. But negotiations to keep Drury in Buffalo fell through, and he left as a free agent for the Rangers. Warrener spent four seasons in Calgary, and he was a regular on the 2004 team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)