Saturday, December 06, 2014

Players Dropped at the Waiver Draft All-Time

With the Week Nine Waiver Draft now come and gone, I had a bit of time to reflect upon the number of years the Waiver Draft, most in the same format, except for the new Preseason Waiver Drafts we've had in the last couple of years.

Since the 2008 season, the first year the draft was on the website, I have managed to keep all the data for historical purposes, which has led to this post, figuring out who the least favourite players in the draft have been over the years and in that reflection, I am hardly surprised by what I've seen.

Two forwards and one goalie top the list of unwanted players through the seven and a half seasons of play, each having been dropped four times each.

Having been dropped in the Preseason Waivers this season, current Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Booth comes up first as a name that is synonymous with being dropped in the Waiver Draft. 2010 with Florida, 2011 with Florida, 2014 with Vancouver and now his first season in Toronto didn't get off to a great start, thanks to another injury, and he was given his fourth boot in pool history.

Booth has had so much promise in his career, thanks to a 31-goal season back in 2009, just before his string of drops, but he has since landed on the pool's Injury Prone List, where he landed in 2010, thanks to a huge concussion, something we don't try to risk ourselves with here.

The second name on our list is another active player in the NHL today and was dropped this week for the fourth time in his pool career, thanks to a cold start to the season and a trip to the Injured Reserve in Week Nine.  New Jersey's Travis Zajac has been also dropped in 2008, 2011 and 2012, mostly due to cold play and a couple times due to injury.

The remarkably, except for this recent drop, Zajac has been a drop in the second Waiver Draft rounds, suggesting that his scoring does go cold later on in the year, especially in the years where he has been dropped and still played a full season.  For the 2015 season, we will see if he becomes a late season pick-up or will he be passed over by teams looking for that slight improvement down the stretch?

The last of the all-time drops hasn't seen any action in the 2015 season yet, despite an early season call-up to the Florida Panthers, but goaltender Dan Ellis came into the season as the all-time leader in drops and now shares that distinction with a couple of forwards.

Ellis has one big distinction among the three players on this list, as he has been dropped in the hockey pool, while playing for four different NHL teams.  In 2008, dropped as a Predator; 2011, dropped as a Bolt; 2012, dropped as a Duck and last season, 2014, dropped as a Star.

Ellis was starting the season as the number three guy in Florida, but even then, he was playing behind a guy like Roberto Luongo, so even if he was the backup, he probably wouldn't have been taken.  Nevertheless, Florida won't be on this list this season.

Other than these three, who would make the All-Time Waiver Draft Dropped Team?  That's a good question.  First, there are a number of players who have been dropped a few times, which makes it difficult to distinguish one from the other.  My all-time team, however, will be comprised more of players who can't earn any more drops first, then maybe we'll add some more likely players, who will be dropped in future years... just speculating, of course.

In the format of a regular hockey pool draft team, here is the All-Time Dropped Team:

Forward NHL Teams Dropped
Travis Zajac NJD 4
David Booth FLA, VAN, TOR 4
Andy McDonald STL 3
Kristian Huselius CBJ 3
Peter Mueller PHO, COL 3
David Moss CAL 3
Ales Hemsky EDM, DAL 3
Joffrey Lupul PHI, ANA 3
Defense NHL Teams Dropped
Brad Stuart LOS, DET 3
Dennis Seidenberg BOS 3
Cam Barker CHI, MIN 2
Jaroslav Spacek BUF, MTL 2
Goalies NHL Teams Dropped
Dan Ellis NAS, TAM, ANA, DAL 4
Nikolai Khabibulin EDM 3

Players worth noting in the research done so far include Nikolai Khabibulin in 2011 and Kristian Huselius in 2012, both players were dropped twice in that season.  Khabibulin, a member or the Oilers and Huselius, a member of the Blue Jackets, were both thought to be upgrades on players that teams had already, dropped from other teams, but were later discarded in the second waiver drafts that year.

Another point of note... the NHL team that had the most number of players dropped from pool teams... the Columbus Blue Jackets.  In seven and a half seasons, they have seen 24 selections dropped from pool teams, while the Calgary Flames have had 22, Toronto and St. Louis have had 21 and the Oilers and Sabres are also tied with 20.

The franchise with the least... the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.  They have only seen eight drops, but I think in fairness, they are probably the team with the least amount of players selected in the hockey pool all-time as well.  Remarkably, their last drop was back in 2012... when Wyllie dropped defenseman David Rundblad in the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft.

No comments: