Vancouver Whitecaps will have 53 players to select from in Monday’s 2011 MLS Re-Entry draft. Will they even use their first selection though?
By the time the 2pm deadline had come and gone, 13 players had come off the initial list of 69 available players, through a combination of retiring, renegotiating contracts, trades and taking themselves off the list.
Interestingly, from a Vancouver point of view, three of the Whitecaps players on the original list are no longer up for selection.
Greg Janicki, Jonathan Leathers and Peter Vagenas are all now technically ex-Whitecaps, although the Club can re-sign them if they are passed over by the other teams.
Mystery still surrounds Joe Cannon, Jay Nolly and John Thorrington.
All we do know is that the three of them have been taken out of Monday’s re-entry draft.
Internet speculation is suggesting that Cannon and Thorrington have re-signed for the Whitecaps, but on reduced salaries (Cannon was on a guarantee of $209,756.25 and Thorrington on a staggering $207,200 – well he does have a lot of medical expenses to cover).
Both veterans may have simply taken themselves out of the process, in the hope of negotiating their own deals.
Jay Nolly is the interesting one.
He’s been with Vancouver for the past four years, and many of the long term fans don’t want to see him leave, but speculation is rife that he is moving to Chicago Fire for allocation money.
Any such move would make sense for both teams and especially for Chicago.
Nolly is not on a huge salary ($65,000 in 2011), so doesn’t hit the salary cap much. He’s going to be the second string keeper in either city, so it’s a cheap option for a club like Chicago.
The Fire have declined options on two of their three current keepers – Jon Conway and Alec Dufty. This leaves them with just the highly rated 22 year old Sean Johnson, who is clearly the man they are continuing to trust to protect their goal in 2012.
Johnston is currently training with Everton and part of the US U23 set up, so there will be chances for Nolly to push for a starting spot if Johnson is away on international duty or is simply having a bad run.
The final list of players for the Re-Entry Draft doesn’t exactly fill us with a lot of excitement.
Vancouver have the chance to get the best of the bunch, as they hold the first pick, but just who is that player?
Houston’s Bobby Boswell was the man to get (on a much reduced salary), but unfortunately the Dynamo have re-signed him and he’s no longer available.
If you look at our two most pressing needs, a right back (depending on the Young-Pyo signing) and a central midfielder with bite, we don’t have a lot of great options in the list, looking at everything from performance to salary.
I would much rather that we use our own scouting to fill these two positions and just try and get the best we can in the draft, even if it means taking someone solely to trade away later on.
There are a few players who could be exciting on the pitch but poison off it, along with a few I’d love to have in Vancouver but not on their current salaries.
I include Jeff Cunningham in the latter. Sure, he’s ancient and didn’t exactly bang goals in last season, but he might be a good guy to have around for the right price. He could really help develop guys like Long Tan and Omar Salgado.
Many clubs will likely pass on their round one picks, as those picks need to offer the player his current salary, or close to it, unless they are out of contract and there’s only four of them in addition to Leathers.
Most of the movement is likely to be had in round two.
So if I had to make a round one pick, who would I take?
The only pick that would make a lot of sense to me would Real Salt Lake midfielder Andy Williams.
He’s out of contract, and was on $99,225, which is less than ten grand more than what Alex Morfaw was on.
Although a Jamaican international, he was born in Toronto. His 14 season MLS career has seen him turn out for six clubs, and at 30 goals in 343 games he could be worth a punt.
He’s 34 now, but it’s worth adding a bit of experience in the middle. We saw how well Gershon Koffie came on last season under the tutelage of Peter Vagenas.
I know he’s ‘Ol Man Moon River, but I’ve seen first hand what a guy like that can bring to people around him when Steve Archibald joined East Fife. Added a whole different dimension to the middle.
After all the toing and froing in the build up to Monday’s draft, we could find that, like last year, it’s all a bit of a damp squib.
If the Caps do make a selection, let’s just hope it’s one we’ll truly benefit from.