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Calgary Flames

Flames Sign Raphael Diaz

The PTO has finally ended and the standout blueliner and he has earned a one year, cheap contract.



As per the great and fantastic Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the Calgary Flames have finally given Raphael (Rafa as he wants to be called because that's a cool nickname) Diaz a remarkably cheap one year deal at $700K. It's not like he didn't do everything absolutely in his power to standout during training camp and earn this contract.

The 28 year old defender formerly of the New York Rangers, started out his North American career after eight years of Zug in the Swiss-A league with Montreal in the 2011-2012 season amassing three goals and 13 assists in 59 games. He would play another 63 games with Montreal adding 1 goal and 24 helpers before being dealt to Vancouver last season for Dale Weise. He would only play 6 games with the Canucks (one goal, one assist) before being dealt to the Rangers for a 5th round pick in 2015.

Diaz, a right-handed shot, is predominantly a two-way/stay at home defender that has helped bolster the depth of the already questionable Flames backend. With Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid, and Deryk Engelland on the roster, the flexibility of inserting Diaz into the lineup over Smid or Engelland will be a definite benefit to driving possession and creating offensive opportunities.

Given how sound he skates and the abilities he has showcased, this will help take the load off Giordano and Brodie throughout this sophomore rebuild season but from what we can tell from how long the negotiations took and how the team wants to handle the blueline this season, he may be used as a 7th defenseman. Which isn't the smartest decision with the skills he brings to the team. Optimistically, I would love to see him used in the second pairing with Wideman or Russell, but we'll have to hope Bob Hartley sees that as a possibility moving forward this season.

With the Diaz signing, that also means Tyler Wotherspoon will be heading down to Adirondack to help the Heat out for now. Wotherspoon was on the fringe of hitting the top-six until the signings of Engelland and now Diaz happened. Tyler played 14 games last season with the Flames potting four assists with the squad when an upper body injury finished him for the remainder of the season. Look to see Wotherspoon get top quality minutes with the Baby Flames until an injury or call-up brings Tyler back into the fold.

by Mike Pfeil