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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Waffle Watch: 2011 Boston Bruins draft pick update the All-Star break edition; 27 Jan.

Well, the NHL regular season schedule is shut down until next week for the All-Star festivities in Raleigh, N.C. starting tomorrow.

I figured this was as good a time as any to update the Waffle Watch, given that there won't be any changes in the standings until Tuesday.

Toronto has lost three consecutive games and sits at 19-25-5 with 49 games in the books. They are only two points ahead of where they were a season ago, but the big difference between this year and last is the poor performances of Ottawa and New Jersey, which were not anticipated coming into the '10-11 campaign.

Tuesday night is a big deal in the standings watch because the Leafs are facing the Florida Panthers, who own a six-point lead and lost a 2-1 game to the Bruins last night, unable to solve Tim Thomas at the very end, though the Bruins certainly gave them their chances. I like the way the Panthers are playing right now-- they don't have much in the way of talent, but Tomas Vokoun keeps them in every game, and they work harder than most. Sheer work alone won't get you into the playoffs these days, but it will keep you ahead of Toronto in the standings.

That head-to-head matchup creates a four-win cushion for the 'Cats or moves Toronto to within two victories of moving into the 6th draft position and out of the lottery.

New Jersey, whose five-game winning streak was snapped by Detroit in a close game last night, is taking on Ottawa, in another huge game that will only help. If NJ wins, they pull to within six points of Toronto (assuming the Leafs lose to Florida). If Ottawa wins, they leapfrog Toronto (if the Leafs lose in regulation) into the fifth slot and the Leafs drop to No. 4. Edmonton is only five points from Toronto, but I don't see them doing very well this winter- just a feeling that they will go into the tank like they did a year ago. Islanders...well, let's just say that they have an incentive to not move up in the standings, and even with rookie Kevin Poulin playing well for them in net, the chances of them pushing past Toronto are pretty slim.

So, with that in mind, here are your updated draft standings as we do the All-Star break.

1st Round
5th overall- Toronto (43 points; 19-25-5)- Completes Phil Kessel trade.
25th overall- Boston (63 points; 28-15-7) (Boston moves to 25th by virtue of third seed- Northeast Division lead with fewest points of division leaders even though technically lower than other teams in standings)

2nd Round
42nd overall- Minnesota (55 points;25-19-5)- Completes Chuck Kobasew trade.
55th overall- Boston

3rd Round
78th overall- Phoenix (59 points; 25-17-9) - Completes Derek Morris trade.
Boston pick traded to Florida; Completes Nathan Horton deal

4th Round
115th overall- Boston

5th Round
145th overall- Boston

6th Round
175th overall- Boston

7th Round
186th overall- Florida (conditional 36 pts; 17-17-2)- Jeff LoVecchio, Jordan Knackstedt to Panthers for Sean Zimmerman, cond. 7th
Boston pick traded to Chicago (Zach Trotman)

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