Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Raphael Diaz Autograph Card

Congratulations to Raphael Diaz, who signed a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames after a training camp try-out. He'll also fit in perfectly with #61 of my Habs Numbers Project...

The Montréal Canadiens originally signed him as a free agent, after he'd played seven seasons with EV Zug in the Swiss League. The Habs dressed him for about half their games for parts of three seasons, and he showed some offensive upside by gathering nearly half a point per game in that span.

As a fine puck-moving defender with a booming shot and good foot speed, but just 5'11'' in stature (and not looking anywhere close to his listed 200 pounds), you can guess why John Tortorella only dressed him six times and played him for less than 16 minutes each time, on average, after the Vancouver Canucks acquired him. He will not clear the front of the net nor hit, and ideally wouldn't have to block shots - if only because he could break in half.

What you need to do is have him man the powerplay, even if only the second unit most of the time. But playing behind Jason Garrison, Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler and Dan Hamhuis with the Canucks, he didn't see much 5-on-4 action.

The New York Rangers didn't have much room for him either after acquiring him at the trade deadline - essentially as a depth player in case anyone in their top-4 got injured in the playoffs, to not ask too much of their 5th and 6th defensemen, at least offensively - so they had to let him walk as well.

With the Flames, he might not be surrounded by top-notch finishers, but at least he'll get the ice time to show he can shine, and perhaps even impress a team who could really use a right-handed shot on D (say, the Detroit Red Wings).

He looks good in red, as can be attested by this card, from Upper Deck's 2011-12 Ultimate Collection set (card #117, part of the Autographed Ultimate Rookies sub-set), wearing the Habs' classic red (home) uniform, signed on-card in blue sharpie and numbered 15/299:
It's a fairly simple design, reminiscent of the Daniel Sedin jersey card from the same set, in gol  rather than silver. Advanced statistics made Diaz look like Montréal's fourth-best defenseman these past three years - I wouldn't go that far, but definitely roster-worthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment