Thursday, January 14, 2010

Conclusion to the First Round

Amazingly, we made it through the first round before the end of Wednesday, which does seem to be the new standard of Waiver Draft experiences. Getting halfway by Wednesday is pretty key. Now, we're on the homestretch to finish it all off and I think we should be able to come to a conclusion before Sunday.

The conclusion of the first round happened in a jiffy on Wednesday as we motored through the last picks and there was some pretty interesting picks. Here we go...

In the 8th spot, Allan decided to upgrade his working forwards, dropping Mikhail Grabovski of the struggling Maple Leafs for Matthew Lombardi of the Coyotes. Lombardi, a former Flames player, has been doing alright in Phoenix, but it does seem like Phoenix has cooled a bit from their hot start to the season. It will be interesting to see if Allan can climb into the money mix with his new pick.

Picking 8th means Allan came in at the 10th spot into the Waiver Draft and that has gone either way in the past. In 2009, Derek dropped down two spots to 12th and lost a lot of ground, while in 2008, Dieter still lost ground on 1st, but actually moved up a spot to 9th. There hasn't been any miracles from here.

The 9th pick went to Ryan and he wanted to make a move with his goaltending, as Scott Clemmensen was not getting the minutes that Ryan thought he would this year behind Tomas Vokoun. Tuukka Rask, on the other hand, is getting more minutes, despite being behind Tim Thomas, so that had to be appealing, especially on a Boston team that might now be finding its legs again.

Ryan is sitting in a standings spot which has seen some decent movement in previous years, as both John P. in 2009 and Wes in 2008 moved up to 7th from 9th after the second Waiver Draft. That's a good way to save face. The addition of Rask could just do the trick for Ryan to make that kind of move this year.

Larry was also looking for goaltending yesterday and he wagered on Mathieu Garon of the Blue Jackets to get a lot more time over Steve Mason during this time of winning difficulty. Larry wasn't getting the minutes out of Atlanta's Ondrej Pavelec that he expected at the first Waiver Draft this year, so Larry dropped him in favour of Garon, hoping for a little more luck in that department.

From the 8th spot in the standings historically has been marginal, as Dale C. did not improve his position in 2009, staying 8th, while Peter dropped down two spots to 10th in 2008. Larry is really trying to improve his depth, so a healthy team has a good chance to move him up anyways.

As one of the hottest teams in the pool in the past two months, Dale B. decided that any change would be a marginal improvement, which is the name of the game this time around, but he decided to stay with what has earned him the top spot in the jersey race going into this week and pass on his pick.

The pick from the 7th spot has been fairly lucky in the past, both years seeing an improvement in position, which bodes well for Dale, but I do believe the past couple years did see picks, which a pass was something I wasn't counting on in terms of movement. In 2009, Benson moved up to 5th spot from 7th, making up ground on the leader, which was a great sign. In 2008, Dale B. sat in the same place and moved up to 4th after the second Waiver Draft. That's some pretty good movement.

Wes was in a position to only make a marginal improvement to his team, as he wasn't dealing with too many health disasters, but he was dealing with a player in the doghouse, as Chris Campoli of the Senators has been called out a number of times by the coaching staff, only to be scratched not long after. Wes decided on dropping him and picked up Joni Pitkanen of the Hurricanes, who has picked up his play since being dropped in the first Waiver Draft. There should be some improvement at the position with that pick.

From the 6th spot, there has been a move up and a move down, each way was two spots, so his marginal improvement will mean that Wes needs his team to stay healthy and stay the course. Marcus took his 6th place team up to 4th in 2009, making up ground on 1st place, while John P. took his 2008 team down two spots, losing all sorts of ground to the leader.

Benson made a pretty good jump in the standings after settling in the 5th spot for the Waiver Draft, so he is in prime position for an improvement, especially with a pick like Steve Sullivan under his belt, with dropping Devin Setoguchi to facilitate the move. Setoguchi has not been able to recapture any of that scoring magic on a Sharks team that seems to have clumped all its scoring on one line. Setoguchi is now left in the cold wondering what to do.

From the 5th spot, there hasn't been any historic moves up, as Ryan took the 9th spot in the end in 2009, while Benson was in 5th in 2008 and stayed there by the end of the year. With how close the standings are going into the last 10 weeks of the season, anything can happen, really.

From the 4th spot, Clayton managed to sneak Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers onto his team for the injured Chris Kunitz of the Penguins. Dubinsky, playing on the top line with Marian Gaborik in New York should be a pretty good pick, despite having a slow start to the season and an injury which kept him out of the line-up, but things are looking up for him going into the back end of the year.

Remarkably, in the past couple years, Clayton has occupied the 4th spot going into the back end of the year and it's turned out to be good for him. In 2009, he ended up winning the pool from the 4th spot, making up a 32-point gap to win by 18, so you can say it was a 50-point spread after the second Waiver Draft. In 2008, he couldn't quite make it to the top, coming 7 points short, finishing 2nd, making up 30 points on 1st place, however. This is a dangerous spot to be in for him...

Dale C. couldn't quite fall down the standings far enough for a better pick, but he did manage to make a good pick, regardless. Dale managed to drop one of his injured forwards in Justin Williams of the Kings for rookie phenom, Niclas Bergfors of the Devils. Bergfors has been switching between the first and second lines in New Jersey, picking up his fair share of goals and points along the way, so he looks to have scored big with this pick.

Unfortunately, the 3rd place pick has not fared well after the second Waiver Draft. Both Jeremy in 2009 and John B. in 2008 fell out of the money and down to 6th spot in the standings. Jeremy didn't have a bad last segment of the year, but the teams around him were doing just that much better in the end, while John really shit the bed and dropped way behind the leaders after that pick.

Getting minutes under his belt looks to be the name of the game for Wayne, who comes into the Waiver Draft as the 2nd place team, after a big jump of his own lately. He made the move to drop Mike Smith, who went down with a neck injury and he took on Cam Ward, who has taken his starting job back in Carolina, after going down with a leg laceration injury. The uncertainty of Smith's injury does make this swap a tad curious, as Smith and the Lightning have been doing better than Ward and the Hurricanes.

The 2nd spot in the standings has finished in the money in the past, but not higher than 3rd. Peter in 2009 and Chris in 2008 both came into the second Waiver Draft safely in 2nd, but couldn't muster a win out of the situation or anything better than their money back. How much does Wayne's team have left in the tank?

As the first place team at the second Waiver Draft, Leon is looking to make himself a little bit safer and as expected, he dropped his worst forward, David Moss of the Flames for Avalanche rookie Chris Stewart, who has been doing well for Colorado of late. Stewart has been doing it all for the surprising Avalanche this year, so his inclusion on Leon's team was almost expected... or maybe it was just the drop that was expected.

First spot has been good for teams in the pool. Leon's brother, Stuart, went into the second Waiver Draft in 2008 and hung on for the win, while John B. in 2009, hung on for a 2nd place finish in the end. Stuart did hold a 21-point lead at the time of the draft, which did evaporate to 7 points in the end, while John couldn't hold a 30-point lead. Leon went into the Draft with a 29-point lead.

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