Canucks acquire Raphael Diaz


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.

INCOMING

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.

OUTGOING

(source)

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.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Great trade by Gillis. Addresses immediate defensive need with all the injuries and only gave up a press box regular. If Diaz can make that outlet pass he seems to have, it gives the Canucks better options.

    Plus teams will be looking to add more D towards the deadline so Diaz or some other D can always be swapped for picks or forwards once some of our regular D’s are returning from injury.

    (Just hope that Gillis doesn’t trade Tanev or Corrado as they are our defensive future.)

  • BrudnySeaby

    Diaz was playing the hardest minutes before being sent to the 3rd pairing to prop up Murray/Boullion. Gorges-Diaz ended being surprisingly great at preventing shots and goals against.

    Then at some point recently, the crazy man who is coaching decided he was too soff, kicked him out of the lineup and kept on playing Murray. My best guess for why is that this is the moron that had a negative puck possession team with Crosby and Malkin in the lineup.

    So right handed fringe top 4, good bottom pair defenseman who is really good at positional defense but gets not credit for it because Montreal media and management are in the dark ages. Gets compared to Weber because also small and Swiss, but unlike Weber is a legitimately useful NHLer. Enjoy.

  • andyg

    Gives us a pretty great top 6 (I assume Diaz > Stanton) and the potential to move Garrison back to the left. Maybe even move Tanev if GMs are buying his top pairing status. Despite the renewed reset talk, I doubt Gillis is about to move NTCs.

  • andyg

    A lot of people are unhappy these days with the way the Canucks are playing, but I’m pretty happy they can’t play right now.

    At this rate, we’ll be a shoe-in for a top-10 pick come the end of the year.

  • andyg

    So, ya, ugh. Thought Gillis wasn’t gonna pick up rentals this yr?

    Either:
    a) There’s a trade coming up involving a righty d-man
    b) or Gillis is so full of s#$$ his eyes are brown.

    Diaz is a rental. Gillis has said he has no time for rentals anymore – so, what am I missing?

    • andyg

      I think the retool has begun.

      When you still have solid core of players it makes sense to bring in a new coach and see if you can get another year out of them. This gives your youth a chance to grow a little.

      After that changes must be made. A couple of core players need to go for youth.

  • antro

    Don’t know much about Diaz, but rarely takes penalties, useful for the third pairing, etc. sounds good! And Weise was a waiver-wire pick up, and there are probably folks on the farm that can play his role, even if a little less punchy.

    It looks like a useful player (esp now!) for a player Canucks can easily replace.

    Nicely done!

  • acg5151

    With Bieksa and Tanev out its a good pickup. Come playoff time defensive depth is always important for a deep run. Without that depth, the Canucks won’t be going anywhere.

    Losing Weise isn’t too big of a deal – I always liked him and thought he had more to offer but the return was solid.

  • Mantastic

    This is a solid move by Gillis.

    Adding a useful rental player essentially for free is always a tidy piece of business.

    Espescially since the team presumably wants Corrado back in Utica ASAP.

    And if the team is comfortable with Diaz & Weber as their 6 & 7, it becomes that much easier to trade a defenseman for the forward this team desperately needs…

  • andyg

    Getting Diaz is a general meh (and as you say a little concerning about how long the regular D are going to be out with injuries); getting him for Weise who we got because Tortorella waived him the first time around with the Rangers and is also going to be an RFA is a little strange. What exactly does Montreal think they are getting? He’s ok, but I would’ve thought they could have at least got a late round pick for him.

    It’s all triage at this point so I suppose Diaz will be a somewhat useful bandage until the break, though another who won’t actually get a break during it.

  • Mantastic

    Ever since Weise made the comment last year that if he played on the third line he wouldn’t fight as often I haven’t been a fan of his. My opinion of him is that he spends to much time dreaming of playing in the top six and not enough time perfecting his role in the bottom six.

  • Mantastic

    “It’s more likely that the team will use Yannick Weber as a seventh defenceman or twelfth forward this week.”

    Weber is injured and was sent back to Vancouver. Both you guys and Pass it to Bulis don’t seem to remember this. Is he really that forgettable?