31-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Raphael Diaz Contract Information:
Signed with European team EV Zug (NLA - Switzerland) in December of 2015.
Diaz was recalled by the Rangers on Monday.
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Raphael Diaz: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Raphael Diaz.
The Rangers signed Diaz on a cheap, one-year commitment to help stabilize the depth on the blue line, but the 29-year-old's days of fantasy relevance are probably over at this point. With just four points in 56 games with Calgary last season, Diaz offers little offensive upside at this point and is best utilized as a seventh defenseman to plug in when injuries surface. The Rangers already boast six NHL-tested defensemen, leaving Diaz in a training-camp battle with Chris Summers and Dylan McIlrath for the right to sit in the press box most nights.
Diaz has produced more offense than was originally expected of him when he came to North America from Switzerland for the 2011-12 season. There's something to be said for making the smart, simple plays. He had a sterling start to the 2012-13 season, posting eight assists in the first six games and seeing time on the power play while filling in for P.K. Subban (contract holdout). Diaz took less of an offensive profile when Subban's holdout ended, and then a concussion caused him to miss two months, but he finished with an efficient 14 points in 23 games (third among Habs' blueliners). A bit player in his first go-round with Montreal, Diaz averaged two more minutes per game in his second season. He's expected to be among the top two defensive pairings, especially with Alexei Emelin (knee) out for the start of the season.
Since signing a Swiss defenseman worked out with Mark Streit several years ago, the Canadiens rolled the dice again with Diaz. Montreal was pleased with Diaz's first North American season as the organization inked the Swiss blue liner to a two-year contract in July. He had 16 points in 57 games to go with a minus-7 rating, missing the season's last month due to a groin injury. A veteran of the Swiss League with Zug, Diaz has put up solid offensive seasons in Europe, including a 12-goal, 39-point effort in 45 games during 2010-11. It's worth noting that Mark Streit's second season in the NHL was his breakout year, although that could have little correlation with Diaz, it's interesting nonetheless. Diaz is worth a look late in deep leagues.
The Canadiens beat a few interested teams to this Swiss free-agent defenseman, who accumulated 39 points and a plus-14 in 45 games with EV Zug of the Swiss National League A in 2010. He wasnít known for his offensive game prior to his breakout last season, but shows good vision and an ability to work the point. He doesnít have great size, but is pretty steady in his own end and is said to have proper work ethic. Itís a two-way deal for Diaz, who may open the season at AHL Hamilton, but is expected to be working the blue line in Montreal eventually as the team looks to add youth to its defense.