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The Raphael Diaz-Dale Weise trade has been a bit of a polarizing one for the
fan base.  Some are lamenting the loss of Diaz and dislike the deal while
others believe Weise will give the fourth line a much needed boost in
physicality and think it’s a good swap.  Our writers offer up their
thoughts on the move and while it’s not a unanimous opinion, more like the trade
than not.

Matt Dilworth: This certainly wasn’t the earthshaking trade I
was hoping that Bergevin would pull off before the trade freeze to snap the Habs
out of their losing ways. Nevertheless, with Nathan Beaulieu’s emergence as an
adequate bottom-pairing defenceman with more potential, Diaz became (further)
redundant, and it was time to move him out. It should come as a surprise to no
one that the return wasn’t any better; with Diaz being made a healthy scratch
for most of January, no GM would have given up much. Although I might have
preferred a draft pick as opposed to creating a bigger logjam of marginal NHLers,
Weise does bring some positives to the lineup.

Weise is no impact player, but he at least brings size and speed to the
Montreal roster. He isn’t afraid to drop the gloves, even though his wins come
as rarely as they did for the ex-Hab punching bag, Tom Kostopoulos. His
acquisition does negate the need to call up any Bulldogs for spot 4th line duty,
and as an RFA, Montreal holds his rights where Diaz could have walked for
nothing this summer. For a grinder, Weise can put up a few points here and
there, and he might benefit from a change in scenery.

I always felt that Diaz was underappreciated in Montreal, but unfortunately
he didn’t fit Montreal’s present needs. Bergevin receives a passing grade from
me for getting something of worth for him, but he’d better have more planned to
right the sinking ship that is Montreal.

Brian La Rose: Let me start by acknowledging that Weise should
be a somewhat useful player; anything that keeps George Parros out of the lineup
regularly can’t be bad.  That said, this is terrible asset management by
the Habs.  Trading a player after being benched for over two weeks is the
worst possible time to do so and 18 minute defencemen are a lot harder to get
than an 8 minute fourth liner.  Diaz was underappreciated by the fans,
coaches, and evidently, Bergevin as well.  I wrote about it last week so I
won’t bother getting into it again. 

If there was a right time to trade Diaz though, it would be after the
Olympics.  He’ll be back in shape for starters but he has thrived on
international ice; his value should be a lot higher at that time than it was
here as he always plays well for his country.  Given that Weise was the
best they could get here, they could have easily waited it out and looked for a
better offer, it’s not like acquiring Weise was a take it or leave it
proposition, this deal probably would have been there for a while yet. 

All season the talk has been about the defensive depth and how it could be
put to use towards the deadline, particularly with Davis Drewiske nearing a
return.  I don’t think anyone had Dale Weise in mind when talking about
parlaying that depth towards filling another area of need.  This was a very
underwhelming move.

Alex Létourneau: In all honesty, I hope this is the final
chapter in the Swiss experiment with defencemen. Barring Mark Streit, who was
dangerous on the power play but scary 5-on-5 , there were no matching results
with Yannick Weber and Diaz. I can appreciate some of the regular season success
he displayed, with a career high likely being part of an NHL All-Star festivity
weekend, but ultimately this is a defenceman that I do not think has what it
takes to remain at this level. He suffered an unfortunate injury last season
that stalled what could’ve been a pretty solid campaign, but his play in the
playoffs bordered horrific. I’d be lying if I said I followed Dale Weise’s
career. The book on him seems to be as a serviceable grinder who didn’t get
along with John Tortorella. Depth is always a good thing and it was becoming
clear that Diaz fit less and less into this team’s future. Injecting a bit of
bottom six energy to a team that seems to be struggling with their identity is
never a bad thing. I’d expect a few more little tweaks like this, rather than a
big splash which would go against everything Bergevin has stressed about team
chemistry and character.

Matt Macaskill: While it came as no surprise to me that Diaz
was finally traded, I was hoping the Habs would have received a better return.
The Swiss defender’s stock clearly dropped since last summer when I believe
Bergevin should have moved him. Given that Diaz was traded after being a healthy
scratch for eight games, one must assume that Bergevin worked the phones the
best he could but found only a grinding forward (much to Michel Therrien’s
delight, I’m sure). Do I love the trade? No. Am I okay with it? Sure. At the
very least, it gives Diaz a great opportunity to prove he’s a capable top six
defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks. Meanwhile, Weise will be a decent
addition to the Canadiens’ fourth line.

Kevin Meldrum: I think the Habs could have traded Diaz earlier
in the year when he had more value where they would have got a decent prospect
or a 2nd/3rd pick in this years draft.  By not dressing him they basically
killed any worth that Diaz had.  Yes they received some needed size/grit in
Weise but where does he fit in; they already have Moen unless they will be
trading him.  As far as the trade goes they got something for Diaz but I
feel the package should/could have been better, it gets a C rating in my book.

Norm Szcyrek: I like the trade for a few reasons. Diaz has not
been the same player since his concussion last season, and since he sent that
suicide pass to Lars Eller in the playoffs last season that lead to Eller’s
concussion. This season, Diaz’ play has been on the decline, so much that a
rookie [Beaulieu] surpassed him on the depth chart. Beaulieu provides more
offensive ability in every area, with equal defensive ability and room to learn
and improve. Diaz was not a cornerstone type of player for Montreal, and people
that considered him a #4 defenceman [see Twitter circa Monday] have not
evaluated him accurately lately. When you add the fact that he’s an impending
UFA, it was a no-brainer to trade him before the deadline. Since Vancouver had 3
defencemen injured, Diaz will fill a need and help them provide some backend

Weise has good size, some toughness and most importantly he’s a good skater.
For a 4th line player that’s an excellent ability to have to be useful on the
forecheck. Another important factor that few have considered is that the Habs
have very, very few NHL ready forwards on the farm team, so a player like Weise
who is only 25 and going to be a RFA this summer is a useful piece to the team.
It doesn’t hurt to hear Weise say that he was a Habs fan when he was a kid, and
he seemed genuinely excited to be coming to Montreal to play during the press

Mitchell Tierney: While it was disappointing to see Diaz go as
he seemed like a great professional and person, he was a highly expendable
asset. It was unlikely that the team would have re-signed him after the season
as younger and more valuable defensemen like Beaulieu start to make names from
themselves. As for the return, Montreal’s fourth line this season, without Ryan
White, has lacked any kind of toughness. At the same time, the players the team
has used have generally been unable to introduce any offence into the lineup
rendering them fairly useless. With the Wiese acquisition the team now has some
legitimate fourth line material that will make them more difficult to play
against going forward. In summation, any time the forward group gets bigger it
is a good trade for the Canadiens.