Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Raphaël Diaz to get a try-out invite to Canadiens' training camp?

I'm not anti-Raphaël Diaz at all, I supported him in numerous posts over the years.  I did see the idea floated on another blog to get him a tryout with the Canadiens, but I can't get on board.  It's not anathema, it's a good discussion point in early September, but the tryout in and of itself would be unnecessary, we already know what he can do.

I agree with those who mention that ultimately his problem was how he fit on the team, that his skittishness in games where the refs 'let them (the thugs) play' was his undoing.  He had concussion issues, his offence dried up at the worst time, overall he was less than the sum of the parts of his game, he didn't deliver on the early potential we thought was there.

If we didn't have limits on roster size and on the number of contracts, sure, bring him on, see if everything falls into place and he finally blossoms, but we have to deal with our current reality.  We have two right-handed d-men who we are pretty close to needing to fish or cut bait with in the two guys who are usually mentioned after the Subban-Gilbert-Weaver triumverate.

Greg Pateryn is on his last year of being exempt from waivers, and had the strongest, steadiest campaign with the Bulldogs last season, over even Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu.  He could fill a need as a big guy who can play steady defence and injects size and strength on our blue line.

Magnus Nygren has a different skillset, being more of an offensively-inclined defenceman, and we all know about his cannon from the point.  If anything, his skillset makes another Raphaël Diaz experiment superfluous, if we're going to bet on a longshot offensive d-man, let's go with the younger, bigger guy with even more upside.

This is where the brain trust gets to put its money where its mouth is, when they say they want to turn the team over to its youngsters, that you build through the draft and development, that they want the kids to compete for jobs and make the decisions for them, that they wouldn't mind taking a step back in the standings while doing these things.

Let's have Greg Pateryn and Magnus Nygren fight to displace Mike Weaver as the third-pairing rightie, and to sub in when injuries hit.  Let's have them see the goal be so close they can taste it, rather than putting a Raphaël Diaz or Francis Bouillon in their way.

I know as a fan I wouldn't fault the team, the coach or the management if Greg Pateryn and/or Magnus Nygren were on the roster and playing every game and cost us a few losses next season.  I actually think having an influx of young defencemen is exciting, like the Chelios-Svoboda-Kurvers seasons, or three years ago when we had Emelin-Diaz-Weber jockeying for position in addition to P.K.

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