Fantasy Impact: The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenseman Raphael Diaz from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for gritty winger Dale Weise.
The Canucks get: a pretty good puck mover who is just waiting for an opportunity. Diaz has shown us flashes of production, primarily when PK Subban wasn’t in the lineup. He had eight points in the six games that Subban did not play last season. Here is an excerpt from my Fantasy Guide last summer:
Diaz should continue progressing, but will only break out if Markov or Subban get injured. Because at this point, quarterbacking the Montreal power play is spoken for. He had eight points in the six games that Subban didn’t play, but just six in his other 17 games. In his last season with Zug (Swiss League), he was teammates with Damien Brunner and posted 39 points in 45 games to Brunner’s 46 in 40.
The Canadiens get: some much-needed grit (42 PIM, 65 hits despite 7:46 ATOI) and size (6-2, 210). The Habs were scratching Diaz anyway, as he is pretty ineffective if he’s not on the top power-play unit.
While it was good of Montreal to fill a need with an asset that they weren’t using, the Canucks got a real coup here. Alexander Edler has been very ineffective this season, while the up-and-coming Chris Tanev and the veteran Kevin Bieksa are sidelined for what could be five to 10 games. Dan Hamhuis can’t find the offense that he had last season and Jason Garrison goes 10 games white hot, 10 games ice cold.
Diaz fills a role here and if he’s used on the first power-play unit, he will produce. If he does not get that kind of ice time, then he may as well be back in the press box.
Fantasy Players impacted: Diaz makes a nice low-priced grab right now. And with the coach returning from suspension and Henrik Sedin no-doubt coming back from injury, all the ducks seem to be lined in a row. But it all hinges on that top PP unit – Diaz needs to be a part of that. If he does, then watch his career turn a corner.