The afternoon of Friday, December 16, brought another one of MLS' lightly-used mechanisms for connecting out-of-contract players with new teams: the Re-Entry Draft.
The Re-Entry Draft is basically a clearing house for players recently released by their MLS teams. At the end of 2016, the New York Red Bulls saw the contracts of four players expire (Damien Perrinelle, Aurelien Collin, Kyle Reynish, and Shaun Wright-Phillips), and declined the contract options of another two - Karl Ouimette and Ronald Zubar.
Not every player is eligible for the Re-Entry Draft. For example, SWP landed in the preceding Waiver Draft (which is basically the same exercise, just for players who haven't been playing in MLS as long), and Kyle Reynish is qualified for MLS Free Agency (which entitles him to a different category of negotiation with teams in the league). Some players opt out: the league announced Aurelien Collin had exempted himself from the Re-Entry Draft.
RBNY is assumed to be negotiating new contracts with Collin and Zubar. The two defenders, and Perrinelle, have been absent from any of the off-season's contract-clearing-house drafts.
In Friday's Re-Entry Draft, the only (former) RBNY player available was Karl Ouimette.
Along with the majority of players in the draft, he was not selected. The Re-Entry Draft has two phases. Friday saw Stage One, when teams must accept the terms of the player's previous contract option or extend an offer close to his prior deal. Most MLS teams decline that invitation.
In Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft, teams can seek to negotiate new contracts with players they select, which can be a more appealing option for front offices seeking to add MLS experience to their rosters.
In 2016, three teams decided to make a move in Stage One of Re-Entry: Houston picked up Dylan Remick, a left back no longer in Seattle Sounders' plans; Orlando and Seattle reached for back-up goalkeepers, selecting Patrick McLain (formerly of Chicago Fire) and Bryan Meredith (previously of San Jose and a Sounder before that) respectively.
Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft will be held on Thursday, December 22. As with Stage One, expect modest interest from teams around the league.