The Canucks made a minor move Monday morning, sending Dale Weise to Montreal in exchange for Swiss defenceman Raphael Diaz.
Our first reaction: this is a great trade. Any time you can get a guy who shares a name with a ninja turtle, you have won the trade. It’s as simple as that. And the Canucks have now doubled down on Swiss Olympians. With Yannick Weber already in the fold, they lead the league in that category, and you can’t spell “Stanley Cup” without “Swiss” (so long as you misspell it Swinsley Cusp).
Speaking of Weber, this trade isn’t all that great for him. Like Weber, Diaz is a right-sider, and he’s likely going to land ahead of Weber on the depth chart. Considering how much Weber has struggled to get into the lineup (as a defenceman) for much of the season, this is just another obstacle. And considering Weber wound up on the Canucks this offseason because he lost his job to Diaz in Montreal last year, that’s just an extra gut-punch.
It’s tough not to feel bad for the guy.
But I don’t think the Canucks were thinking of Weber’s feelings when they made the deal. They were thinking about their needs, one of which was a short-term fix on the right side. With Chris Tanev out until after the Olympic break with a thumb injury, Kevin Bieksa down with an injured foot, and Weber injured versus the Jets, the Canucks had, among available right-side guys, Frank Corrado and that’s it. Suffice it to say, not only is that not enough, but it’s not good enough, especially for a team that needs to string some wins together before Sochi.
That in mind, this trade makes a lot of sense for them. Weise wasn’t happy here, grumbling about being a healthy scratch on more than a few occasions, and Diaz probably wasn’t happy with similar treatment in Montreal. (He’s been a scratch since January 22). Hence, the Canucks and Canadiens are trading problems, in a sense, but the Canucks are also solving another one in the process.
On the surface, Diaz’s scratch is evidence that he’s not playing well, but it’s possible that some of what appears to be poor play is actually just bad luck. He’s got a PDO of 979, and since we’re delving into the nerd section of this writeup, you should know that while he has a corsi% of 46.8, which is bad, he starts the majority of his shifts in the defensive zone, and his relative Corsi, Fenwick, and shot differential are all positive.
Plus the Canadiens are pretty much just bad across the board when P.K. Subban’s not on the ice.
Diaz can play. When he was in the lineup, he was the Canadiens’ fourth most-used blueliner. It’s actually somewhat absurd that they traded a real player for “toughness” in the form of Dale Weise, who’s not actually tough. (He is fast, though. If he gets a chance in a top-nine role for the Canadiens, he might very well flourish.)
There’s no arguing that this is a good deal for the Canucks, and if they dislike Diaz as much as Montreal appeared to near the end, he cost next to nothing to acquire, and he’s a UFA at season’s end, so they don’t have to keep him around if they don’t want to.
All that said, it’s hard to see the Canucks trade the greatest Dutch hockey player of all-time away for a depth defenceman. You’d think they could have gotten a first-rounder, at least. If this was the Netherlands, they probably could have gotten a massive package. In our opinion, Mike Gillis blew this trade when he told all the NHL GMs that Weise was available, but didn’t tell anyone in the Dutch league.Tags: dale weise, Raphael Diaz, trades