It was the moment we were all waiting for... time to drop the bums that are holding our teams back and pick up some players who will make up for the losses incurred. Yes, it is Waiver Draft time and we started off with a bang on Monday.
The biggest surprise of the first day of the Waiver Draft was that we actually got through 16 drops & picks on the first day, something that has never happened in the history of this pool. Usually the first round takes most of the week, but there is a certain possibility that the first round could conclude on Tuesday.
Through 16 drops & picks, there wasn't much for surprises. Josh Harding did indeed go number one to Doug, as he dropped Jason LaBarbera, who was lost in the Edmonton goaltending shuffle with the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov ended up going 5th to John S., which was a little bit later than I expected.
The goalies continued to roll out, as Kevin Poulin of the Islanders went number two to Stuart and Peter Budaj of the Canadiens went 11th to Wilton. Poulin will be taking over for Evgeni Nabokov, who suffered a groin injury on the weekend, while Budaj has been getting semi-regular work in the Montreal crease and has been getting results in the process.
As for forwards, the top-ranked forwards Martin Hanzal of the Coyotes went number three to Mike and Tomas Hertl of the Sharks went number six to Benson. Both players had 18 points going into this week and have potential to be game-changers at the bottom of the pool in the second segment. Sandwiched in between Hanzal and Hertl was Olli Jokinen, taken 4th by Leo, who wanted someone he recognized to cheer for.
Only two defensemen were snapped up in the first 16 picks, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the Sharks was taken 12th by Wes and Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Blackhawks was taken 15th by Stacey C.. Kris Russell of the Flames picked up his 11th point of the season on Monday night, so he shouldn't last much longer in the draft.
The best pick of the opening 16, in my opinion, was Scott taking Kris Versteeg at the 16th pick, as he moved from Florida to Chicago last week and has already gained a hop to his step.
Other forwards taken in the draft were Dustin Penner of the Ducks, Tommy Wingels of the Sharks, Clarke MacArthur of the Senators, Ryan Johansen of the Blue Jackets, Joel Ward of the Capitals and Carl Hagelin of the Rangers.
Stacey M. has the first pick of Tuesday morning, which should drop shortly and we should be able to conclude the proceedings of the first round before the end of the work day, I'm thinking (and hoping).