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Blues' president Davidson upset at free agent waiver process

TSN.ca Staff

1/18/2011 9:53:26 PM

While St. Louis Blues' president John Davidson accepts losing recently signed players Marek Svatos and Kyle Wellwood to the waiver process, he isn't happy about how the situation played out.

"I have no problems with the teams picking them because they didn't break a rule," Davidson told NHL Home Ice XM 204 on Tuesday.  "The rule is what it is, but it could be tweaked."

Seeing his team ravaged by long-term injuries to several key players, the Blues looked to Europe to bolster their offensive ranks, first by signing former Colorado Avalanche sniper Marek Svatos, who had been released by KHL club Omsk Avangard, and then by inking one-time Toronto Maple Leaf and Vancouver Canuck playmaker Kyle Wellwood, who had seen his contract terminated by Mystischi Atlant.

In both cases, the aforementioned players were snapped up during the waiver process by rival teams that the Blues are battling in the Western Conference standings.  The Nashville Predators snatched up Svatos, while the San Jose Sharks came calling for Wellwood.  In both cases, it left a bad taste in Davidson's mouth.

"It's hard to understand how you can take a player who is finished somewhere else, becomes available, and you do all the work," Davidson told NHL Home Ice.  "You do a formula to finding a contract, you make late-night phone calls, you get lawyers involved.  Then you try to get him here, when nobody else had thought of it and the other team says 'Oh, I'm going to take that player.'"

Davidson feels that a change is necessary so that this situation does not arise again.

"Evolution is always a part of sports," Davidson told NHL Home Ice.  "I know there's a lot of people out there that hate to see change, period.  But life changes and this rule is archaic as it is currently written, in my opinion, and it's something that the general managers should address in the next GM's meetings and tweak it to make it more fair to everybody involved." 

One of the main points of contention with Davidson is how under the current rules, any team in the league could potentially snap up a recently signed free agent through waivers.

"I think that if a player has to go on waivers coming through, only the teams below you in the standings should have the right to pick him up, and if they don't want him, you get him."

In addition, Davidson feels as though the team that loses out should be compensated for their labour.

"There should be some form of compensation in there.  $100,000, $200,000, whatever it is, pick a number," Davidson told NHL Home Ice.  "But for a team to do all the work, and have the player exposed to 29 other teams, it's very frustrating."