Believe it or not, we've made it through the first round before Thursday. That's like record time or something! Now I get to recap the last five picks of the first round, seeing what the top teams in the pool have done. The pickings weren't too bad for the top teams, as you can see below, so it might be tough to catch-up, but of course, those pesky injuries keep showing up, so you just never know.
With the 13th pick in the Waiver Draft, Wes decided to drop Simon Gagne, who has undergone surgery to repair hernias in his groin, for Flyers rookie phenom, James Van Riemsdyk. Van Riemsdyk is giving it all in the rookie race and giving some of the other young talent in the league a good run for their money. With Gagne out of the line-up in Philly, it gives Van Riemsdyk a good shot at more minutes, so this is a great waiver draft move.
Being in fifth come the Waiver Draft has not been a good sign in the past, with no money wins in the past couple years. In 2008, Dale B. finished fourth after being in the same position, while the 2009 participant, Dale C., finished down in eighth. Not the best of omens.
Another rookie comes to the forefront with the 14th selection. Clayton dropped Ron Hainsey of the Thrashers to pick up Sharks defenseman, Jason Demers. Demers came out of virtually nowhere to make the team out of training camp and he has been putting up some pretty good numbers with the Sharks. As of Thursday morning, Demers ranks sixth in rookie scoring, second in rookie defenseman scoring. That's not half bad.
Clayton was in fourth place at this same time last year at the waiver draft and he ended up winning the whole thing, thanks to his waiver draft picks. In 2008, it was John P. who sat in fourth spot, but he didn't quite fare as well, dropping down to eighth spot when it was all said and done.
In a bit of a surprise move, but not really, Stacey decided to drop Cam Ward and get some goaltending minutes from Jimmy Howard in Detroit. It isn't very often that you'll see Cam Ward being dropped, but his leg injury is pretty serious, so some goaltending minutes are in order to stay up near the top. Howard has been getting some minutes lately with Chris Osgood being under the weather, but it is questionable as to what he's going to get starting next week.
Being in third place at the first waiver draft hasn't given anyone a win yet, but it has kept someone in the money. It wasn't in 2008, as Wes went from third down to seventh by the end of the year. Peter remained in third place in 2009 with his picks helping him stay afloat in the money.
Going off the board for his pick, Dale C. went with Tomas Fleischmann as his pick, who was only a couple of points out of being in the top available players, and he dropped Paul Kariya to do it. Fleischmann has had some injury difficulties to start the season, but all is well now and he's starting to become a positive offensive force for the Capitals, as if they needed another one. As for Kariya, he hasn't been able to keep up any sort of scoring pace, so he was dropped like a sack of hammers.
The only other win in the past couple years came from the second position at the first Waiver Draft, as Stuart's team was good enough to jump over the leader at the time and hold onto the lead for the better part of the season. In 2009, John B. also hung around all year in second place, taking some money from this position so early on in the season.
The last pick in the first round went to Leon, who also decided to drop one of his weaker forwards, also from the St. Louis Blues. Leon dropped Patrik Berglund, the sophomore who is seeing the jinx this year, and picked up fellow Swede, Mikael Samuelsson from Vancouver. Berglund had quite the year in 2009, but has yet to duplicate it this season, while Samuelsson has been a pretty good fit in Vancouver, making him a reasonable choice for this draft.
Well, if first place came from second in 2008 and first place came from fourth in 2009, that doesn't really mean well for the first place team now for the finish in 2010. Leon may be in line for a jersey at the end of the week, but whether or not he finishes first at the end of Week Twenty-Six will depend highly on how well his picks are to keep him afloat. Cue the daunting music... "dum dum dum!"
In the first round, there were 10 forwards swapped, three defensemen and four goalies. The Red Wings took the biggest hit in the drop department, with three, while the Thrashers had three more join the pool after the first round. Three rookies joined the pool in the draft, while one was dropped.
This first round does make the pool a little more interesting.