Rabid Habs

Dale Weise

Habs' Dale Weise

February 3, 2014 might not be a date etched in the memory of Canadiens fans. Nobody could be faulted for not recalling where they were last year, however, chances are you weighed in on what became a lightning rod type trade, a deal which saw Marc Bergevin flip Raphael Diaz for Dale Weise.

So much can change in a year. The price of oil was nearly $98 a barrel. Mike Smith was named to Team Canada and received consideration as a potential starter prior to the Olympic tournament opening in Sochi. In Montreal, phone lines blazed as friends and family, the fanatic and casual fan alike, weighed in on the deal. At stake, the notion that Montreal needed to get bigger versus the belief that a skilled puck mover helped to shift the balance of play into the offensive zone. In reality and assisted by the value of hindsight, I’m not entirely sure anyone was right. Diaz has since managed to play in three organizations, failing to establish himself as an everyday defenceman. He currently serves as a depth player in Calgary, signed following a professional tryout and subsequent training camp invitation. It’s probably a coin toss whether Diaz continues his professional career in the NHL or in Europe going forward. He’s not the puck mover that Vancouver, New York or now Calgary had hoped he might be. Additionally, he’s not added offence from the point and has struggled to find a role beyond that of a 7th defenceman, his value tied to that of his minimal cap hit.

In fairness, Weise didn’t fill the role of fourth line grinder. Weise is not a fighter, nor is he overly physical. Whether the majority agree with coach Therrien or not, Weise has proved that he can at least play inside the top nine in spot duty. Weise has excellent speed, which helps create offensive opportunities through net drive. While Weise lacks the overall refinement of a top line player, his 6 goals and 17 points represent excellent value in relation to his contract and term. At 26, Weise continues to afford the Canadiens a viable option throughout the lineup. Is Weise a permanent solution on the top line? No, absolutely not. In fact, he helps to illustrate the greatest deficiency in this organization – an NHL ready scorer, capable of both complementing Pacioretty and easing the offensive burden placed upon the team’s best forward. Internally, Sekac may yet prove capable of filling this void, however, if the organization eyes short term success, the solution may currently reside in such remote locales as Philadelphia, Arizona or beyond.

None of this however should take away from the success that Weise has enjoyed thus far. Beyond his regular season contributions, Weise proved to be a very steady postseason performer, tallying 7 points in 16 games. He played a key role in helping to bring down the Boston Bruins and his loss following a John Moore hit in game five, created a void that was not effectively replaced.

Ultimately the Montreal Canadiens’ success will likely hinge on a healthy Carey Price, PK Subban and Max Pacioretty. However, beneath the surface lie a number of secondary type players, who help provide the coaching staff options and depth, vital components in the journey to postseason prominence. Weise should be counted among these depth players. As his career continues to flourish and as the light shining on the career of Raphael Diaz continues to dim, the one year anniversary of the trade should provide adequate sample size to reevaluate the exchange. In my humble opinion, it is yet another example of Bergevin and his leadership team finding value, without comprising the strength of the team. One year later, Weise for Diaz appears every bit as good as I hoped it would be.

Didn’t you?

I invite your feedback. Please connect with me @LWOScjcasselman to continue the discussion.

2 Comments

  1. Lori10habs

    February 2, 2015 at 9:55 am

    At the time of the trade, the thing that struck me was how everyone who was so critical of it didn’t know the first thing about Weise. Based on that, the criticisms lacked validity in the first place.

    Each fanbase overrates its players. As it turns out, Therrien and Bergevin are not the only guys who can’y find a place for Diaz in their top 6.

    And finally, Dale Weise is not a 1st liner. But Therrien is not the first coach to play a guy like him in the top 6. It wasn’t so long ago Steve Downie was on Crosby’s RW. And it’s not like the #habs have a ton of NHL ready top 6ers. Bergevin needs to make a deal, and he will. But Therrien will still give Weise spot duty throughout the line-up. That’s the type of coach he is.

  2. John

    February 2, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for the feedback. Cheers, John