February 03 2014 11:23AM
He looks stoned. He'll fit in perfectly.
Is your team struggling? Do you feel down in the dumps? Do you see the success of a wonderful group of football players slightly south of your favourite NHL team's city (wearing similar colours) and want so badly to replicate that joy?
Well, a good idea may be to start trading with Marc Bergevin, who was kicked off the Montreal Canadiens section of HF Boards a little while ago because he kept suggesting ridiculous ideas with regard to the defence, such as signing Douglas Murray and Francis Bouillon and also trading a useful third-pairing right-handed defenceman for a fifth line spark plug with good fashion sense.
In comes Raphael Diaz. The Vancouver Canucks increased their stock of Swiss Olympian defencemen by purchasing the smallish, right-handedish Baar native. Diaz is not a superstar by any means, but is best described as "useful". He makes just $1.225-million for the rest of the season before going unrestricted, has scored a point every fourth game this season he's been in the lineup and rarely takes penalties.
Diaz's game can best be described as "unassuming". He's a good passer who rarely hits incoming forwards. He's not so good a passer that he can drive play on his own, but there is a spot for him on an NHL team. He's been an even strength point machine, however—in the last two seasons of play, note that he's scored 15 points in 69 (lol) games—just two of those assists came on the powerplay.
His lineup position was a continual source of frustration for Montreal fans, and I don't think this trade will help ease their pain. I hate looking at goal metrics, but by shots against per 20 minutes, Diaz is first on the Habs, allowing just 8.4 shots while on the ice at 5-on-5. Last year, he was fourth out of seven regular defencemen and in 2011-12, he was third out of seven.
Of course, this is a player who doesn't get to see a regular shift, and when he does, it's usually against third-pairing competition, and he's played about a third of his minutes with Murray this season. Douglas Murray, while being big and physical and all that, also the hockey sense of a snail and Diaz has put up a reasonable Corsi % in the shifts he's spent away from Murray (48.7%) compared to when he's with Murray (41.4%. For the record, Murray, is 39.2% in his 218 minutes this season without Diaz)
However, the Canucks picking up a right-handed shot is obviously not good news for fans of Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev, both of whom are injured right-handed defencemen, one of whom is a good puck-mover. I think Diaz and Tanev are comparable not necessarily in level of skill but they types of skills they bring to the team. It will be interesting to see if Diaz gets a shift or thirty with Dan Hamhuis from now until the Olympic break and fill in on the top line.
Anyway, I like the pickup.
Dale Weise is a moderately above-average fourth line player when compared to all other fourth line players. He has more fights in his 152 games as a Canuck (19) than goals (10) plays less than eight minutes a night under John Tortorella and is the worst regular Corsi player on the team, non-Tom Sestito division.
It's pretty funny stuff in Montreal. They have an incredible scouting and development staff and have graduated several NHLers in recent years, but Bergevin has been filling in the margins with grit and hustle and punchy players like Murray, George Parros, Brandon Prust and so on. They aren't happy over there right now.
Considering the Canucks picked Weise up on waivers, I figure they can find his replacement, should they choose to go that route, on waivers.
It's more likely that the team will use Yannick Weber as a seventh defenceman or twelfth forward this week. The Canucks will probably use seven defencemen with Yann Sauve joining the team this weekend, as it will be tough to get a forward on short notice this week before the Olympic break.
What are your thoughts on the trade? Thumbs up to Gillis? Thumbs down? I'm not sure if this trade is as good of a Montreal import as the government liquor store at Jericho Village finally stocking St. Ambroise oatmeal stout, but I reckon it's a good move, almost entirely risk-free and fills an immediate need without giving anything of value up. Good deal.