Happy second anniversary to Raphael Diaz

Al Bello

Raphael Diaz can do a lot of things in the NHL, but he also has one significant limitation.

On January 21st, 2012, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Raphael Diaz scored the game winning goal on Jonas Gustavsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs, assisted by Scott Gomez.


Believe it or not, but that's the last time Diaz has scored on a goaltender in the NHL. Two years ago today. Since that game winner, Diaz has played 88 NHL games, and fired 99 shots on net. He's also fired 249 shots at the net, with no luck for deflections or good bounces.

Things aren't all bad for Diaz, he did score an empty net goal last season against the Rangers, but it didn't change anything for his shooting talent.


Players have been unlucky for longer stretches than 88 games, and Diaz being a defenseman, at his best he's probably not going to score a lot anyway, but it may be time to face the fact that he just can't shoot the puck.

That isn't to say that Diaz is worthless, despite what you may hear from many fans. Diaz remains a very good defenseman on the defensive side of the puck, a good puck mover, and solid penalty killer.

Diaz doesn't get much powerplay time, so his point totals don't look that impressive, but he gets a lot accomplished at even strength. His 0.63 points per 60 minutes ranks him 3rd among Habs defensemen, and third in assists per 60 minutes with the same mark. Surprisingly though, he ranks first on the team in first assists per 60, with both P.K. Subban and Alexei Emelin getting far more secondary assists to boost their totals.

Diaz is also on the ice for the fewest goals against per 60 minutes of even strength ice time, and 0.573, his second straight year doing so. Part of that is because he's playing mostly third pairing minutes, but he has seen high level competition in both those seasons, and playing with Douglas Murray on the third pairing certainly isn't going to help him.

Diaz has done something that even Scott Gomez couldn't do, and while that's funny, it doesn't diminish his positive impact on the Habs' roster.

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