Not many players in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft are worth the pick, although one might be. (Abelimages/Getty Images)
Edit, 9:30 AM: Confirmed; the Vancouver Whitecaps have passed in the first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
The MLS Re-Entry Draft is one of the many, many means that Major League Soccer uses to redistribute its talent. The advent of the Re-Entry Draft was one of the consequences of the league's 2010 collective bargaining agreement with the Major League Soccer Players Union.
A quick summary of the rules may prove useful: there are two stages, one of which will take place today and the second of which takes place next Monday. In today's Stage One, the nineteen MLS teams will have their pick of 54 MLS veterans. Any team can pick any one of those players and have them added to their roster at their previously-agreed-upon contract.
The problem is that most teams just don't bother picking anyone in Stage One. Last year only two players, defender Aaron Hohlbein and forward Joseph Nwenga, were selected in Stage One. The other sixteen teams passed. If you want a player and he hasn't already got a killer contract then the smart thing to do is wait until Stage Two. Players selected in Stage Two can have their contracts renegotiated, meaning that veteran who would be lovely if he weren't making $200,000 can be brought down to a more appealing cap figure.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have the first pick in Stage One today. I would be astonished if they did anything with it.
There are a few players I wouldn't mind the Whitecaps going after. Midfielder Ryan Pore, whose rights are owned by the Montreal Impact, is among those available. In the 2010 USSF D2 campaign he had one of the very best offensive seasons in second division history, winning the Most Valuable Player award. In 2011 he wasn't exactly spectacular in his MLS cameo appearances but a loan to the NASL Impact unveiled his scoring touch again.
I wouldn't be rash enough to pick up Pore assuming he could shred MLS defenses like NASL ones if only somebody gave him a chance. The jump from second division to first is easy for some players and hard for others, and Pore seems to be in the latter category. However, as an offensively-minded attacking midfield with wheels and skill to spare, he fills a very important need off the bench for the Whitecaps. His salary of $80,000 is arguably a little steep for a Stage One pick but it's hardly a bank-breaker.
I really can't do much better than that. The New England Revolution's Ryan Cochrane seems useful as a depth defender who can play a bit at centre and right backs, but he is mistake-prone and with a salary over $71,000 is surprisingly pricey. Odds are that the Whitecaps will need a goalkeeper and there are a few interesting possibilities available such as veteran Jon Conway or former second-division nemesis Steve Cronin, but I wouldn't take either of them over just having Jay Nolly back.
That's the problem with getting worked up for Stage One. The Re-Entry Draft is mostly a way for teams to shed bad contracts, either by having another team pick them or having them pass through the draft and leave the team. In Stage One, when the contracts must still be honoured, there's no point in taking any but a very few players. Even the possibilities I've listed are making over $70,000.
So don't get excited over the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft. It's doubtful we'll have much to talk about when the dust has settled, at least for another week.