The Habs took a step on Monday towards clearing up their logjam on the
blueline by dealing Raphael Diaz to Vancouver in exchange for winger Dale Weise.
Diaz had been a healthy scratch for the past eight games although he had been a
regular in the lineup since he joined the club prior to the 2011-12 season.
In Weise, the Canadiens add some size and grit to their lineup but are also
picking up a player who has been in the press box recently and has seen his ice
time dwindle considerably in recent weeks. Despite that, the 6’2 forward
is having a career year on the scoresheet with 12 points in 44 games so far this
season to go along with 42 PIMS and a -1 rating. Prior to this year, his
career total in points was 14. Weise also ranked sixth on the Canucks in
hits with 65; that same total places him eighth on the Canadiens. With his
#32 from Vancouver already taken, he will wear #22 with Montreal.
The 2013-14 season hasn’t been a strong one for Diaz. The pending UFA
has yet to score in 46 contests while collecting eleven assists after recording
14 points in 23 games last year in an injury and lockout-shortened campaign.
Nathan Beaulieu’s steady performance on the third pairing since being recalled
seems to have sealed his fate. One element that Vancouver coach John
Tortorella demands of his players is a willingness to block shots and that’s
something that the Swiss blueliner will bring to the table as he already has
blocked 100 shots which ranked 3rd on Montreal.
The Habs pick up a bit of payroll relief with this trade. Diaz has a
full season cap hit of $1.225 million while Weise, a pending restricted free
agent, makes $750,000. The difference in their remaining cap hit from now
to the end of the season is a shade over $170,000. The trade comes just as
Davis Drewiske, who has missed the entire season thus far, is nearing a return
to the lineup. Once he gets activated, there’s a good chance that
Christian Thomas will be re-assigned to Hamilton (since Weise will take his spot