Canucks acquire defenceman Raphael Diaz, but they had to trade Dale Weise to do it

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.

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23 comments

  1. Kelvin Yu
    February 3, 2014

    This looks like a lopsided trade on the surface, but judging from recent history of lopsided Canucks trades I wouldn’t be surprised to see Diaz leave after this season and Weise turn into a superstar.

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  2. Beantown Canuck
    February 3, 2014

    I feel like your discussion about having Corrado and Weber as the only right-handed d-men available could have benefited by mentioning the fact that Weber is not available. Because he’s injured. And is not on the road trip and was sent back to Vancouver. But that’s just how I feel.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 3, 2014

      I disagree.

      On second thought, I agree, and it’s been fixed.

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  3. cathylu
    February 3, 2014

    Here’s hoping his Super-Swiss powers will help us, because obviously we need help. (Turtle power!)

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  4. JanBan
    February 3, 2014

    I’ve only heard about Dale Weise press box sightings, so I’m excited to finally see one in person on Thursday night.

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  5. Naturalmystic
    February 3, 2014

    A quick list of Dutch-Canadian NHL players according to Wiki…

    Stevie Yzerman
    Trevor freakin’ Linden
    The Staal boys
    Dan “ham hands” Hamius

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    • J21
      February 3, 2014

      Joe Nieuwendyk is probably the most prominent omission from your list. There’s Karl Dykhuis and Greg de Vries, too.

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    • RG
      February 3, 2014

      *whoosh*

      That’s the sound of the “Dutch Gretzky” reference flying right over your head.

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  6. steveB
    February 3, 2014

    I liked Dale Weise as a utility player. He is capable of a number of roles, as long as you didn’t expect him to win fights. His speed and energy could be used throughout the line-up, I’d like to see more Canucks play with that intensity.

    That said, the Canucks need a Defenceman with a right-handed shot and I think that Raphael Diaz will be a more than capable stopgap.

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  7. Molari
    February 3, 2014

    As a Habs fan living in Montreal, my beef with Diaz is that he never checks when in the defensive zone …example…a opposition player skates towards the goalie, Doaz would not even check him even if skating by him a few inches away.

    I don’t know Weise, but i sincerely hope Diaz learns to check while playing for you guys in Vancouver.

    kind regards from Montreal

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  8. freewillig
    February 3, 2014

    Is Diaz expected to be in the lineup tonight?

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  9. GRR
    February 3, 2014

    Just a point of clarification here…are Garrison and Edler not right-sided defensemen as well?

    I realize they are sometimes forced to -lay the left-side, but I thought they usually struggled in that capacity?

    I might be wrong….that’s why I’m asking!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 3, 2014

      Both are left-sided defencemen. That’s normal for left-handed defencemen. Since the Canucks have had a lack of right-handed defencemen at times, both have had to play on the right before, but that’s not where they’re most comfortable.

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      • GRR
        February 3, 2014

        Ohh ok, so I got it mixed up! Thanks Daniel.

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  10. iain
    February 3, 2014

    Wiese for Marshawn Lynch would have been a better deal.

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  11. Nally
    February 3, 2014

    As a Montreal fan I wish all the best for Diaz in Vancouver. His shot may be somewhat erratic, but he is a legitimate NHL defenseman. He seems to have lost the confidence of Therrien. But then again Therrien doesn’t have a lack of confidence in Bouillon and Murray.

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  12. spikey
    February 3, 2014

    my favourite weise moment was when he talked real about visors
    http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Canucks+Dale+Weise+bows+tough+stigma+against+visors/8135001/story.html

    my least favourite weise moment was whenever he did something suspendable. that happened a bit.

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  13. John
    February 3, 2014

    I’ve honestly lost count of the number of defencemen who’ve passed through Vancouver in the past five-and-a-half seasons that Luc Bourdon was better than.

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  14. Mark
    February 3, 2014

    Habs fan in Montreal here, and I liked Diaz. Agree that he fell out of favour with Coach Therrien, but he’s a quality player. Never heard of Weise – so off the bat, I feel like the Canucks won this trade. Time will tell though. My Habs will have first crack at re-signing Weise as RFA if he proves to be worthwhile, and that might be a benefit. That, and salary cap room.

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    • akidd
      February 3, 2014

      mark, i think you’ll like weise. i think he could easily become a fan favourite if he’s given a chance. and i think the habs won the trade. diaz, as a ufa, is essentially a rental. the canuck’s bluelline has been decimated and they were desperate. the canucks were dealing from a postion of weakness which is almost always an easy win for the other team. weise is not the problem in vancouver but he recently broke rank and spoke to the media about his lack of ice-time on a lopsidedly deployed canuck team. he was right too.

      yup, you got an rfa roster player from the pacific division. enjoy. and if you really miss diaz you can probably get him back this summer.

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  15. akidd
    February 3, 2014

    i guess weise made the mistake of questioning the coaching staff’s decisions. can’t have that, especially since the ice-time allocation has been so impeccable this year.

    i think that weise will do very well with montreal. speed and a big body but mostly he seems to have a fun-loving attitude and enjoy playing hockey. plus he’s well-rested:)

    diaz is essentially a rental being a ufa this summer. weise is an rfa and could likely become a part of the habs’ future, especially once he gets a taste of the low-hanging fruit in the eastern conference.

    i liked weise. he did what he could with the ice-time he had. thought he could be an important 4th-line contributor on a competitive canucks team. since the canucks are no longer a competitive team though i guess it really doesn’t matter.

    anyway, best of luck to weise. this is probably a really good trade for him. i’m sure he’ll make the most of it.

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  16. Noodle
    February 3, 2014

    This trade is a head scratcher to me, from a Montreal perspective.

    From reading this post : http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2014/2/3/5374414/the-value-of-raphael-diaz-why-trading-him-was-a-mistake
    it seems that the Habs may have undervalued this guy.

    It’s a win for us then , I guess! And since actual wins are hard to come by these days, I’ll take what I can get. ; )

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  17. Zach Morris
    February 3, 2014

    Just looked it up – the Trappers lost in the Eredivisie Final last year. I think the Trappers and Weise need each other more than Eastern Canada does.

    Do the right thing, Montral. Let him follow his heart.

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