Early on, the reception among Flames fans and observers has been pretty positive, and it’s easy to see why at such a reasonable rate. Diaz, 28, has 145 regular season games of experience to his name, most of which came with the Montreal Canadiens. He bounced between the Habs (46 games), Vancouver Canucks (six) and New York Rangers (11 regular season plus four postseason contest) last season, putting up some very respectable possession numbers considering the circumstances.
Obviously, this isn’t a huge deal for Calgary; Diaz likely slides into a sixth or seventh defenseman spot.
Still, he seems to be steady and solid enough to help the Flames absorb an injury here or there on the blueline, and may in fact be worthy of regular work.
Defense could be a relative strength of this team considering Mark Giordano’s Norris-level work in 2013-14 and up-and-comers such as T.J. Brodie (not to mention strong two-way work from Mikael Backlund, assuming he’s healthy).
Diaz is unlikely to stand out among such a group of players, yet he probably won’t drag things down when he’s out there. You can’t ask for much more than that from a depth defenseman.
The Detroit Red Wings extended Diaz a professional tryout, but he ended up going to Calgary’s training camp instead. That plan seems to have worked out for him, although he might miss the postseason after appearances in the last two playoff years with the Rangers and Canadiens.
Tyler Wotherspoon was assigned to the AHL to make room for Diaz.