Montreal signs Diaz — two years, $2.45 million

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The Montreal Canadiens have avoided an arbitration hearing with RFA defenseman Raphael Diaz, signing the Swiss native to a two-year deal worth $2.45 million.

The deal comes with an average annual cap hit of $1.25 million, a slight bump from the $900,000 he made last season.

Diaz, 26, made his NHL debut in 2011-12 after spending eight years with EV Zug of the Swiss League.

His first campaign proved to be a good one as he scored 16 points in 59 games, averaged 18 minutes of ice time per night, finished third among rookie defensemen in blocked shots (102) and was part of the NHL’s All-Rookie Team at the 2012 All-Star Weekend.

Diaz was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on July 26. By avoiding it, he locks into a Montreal blueline that could be crowded next season — Andrei Markov, Tomas Kaberle, Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin, Francis Bouillon and Yannick Weber are also under contract with RFA P.K. Subban still yet to be signed.