Raphael Salvador Diaz lands with Rangers, but doesn't know if he will play
RALEIGH - It's been a month of travel and change for Raphael Salvador Diaz. The jersey he wore in his first skate as a Ranger here on Friday -- No. 4 -- was the fourth he's donned since Feb. 3.
On that day, the 28-year-old defenseman was traded from Montreal, where he had been playing since 2011, to Vancouver for ex-Ranger Dale Weise. He played three games for the Canucks before leaving to play for Team Switzerland in Sochi. (His father is from Spain; his mother, Swiss).
When he came back to Vancouver, Diaz played two games on right wing because all Vancouver defensemen were healthy. It was a position he had never played, he said.
When he first came to the Canucks "they had four defensemen injured, and I played right away,'" Diaz said. "After the Olympics, everybody was healthy, I played one more game as a defenseman, and then I was playing two games as a forward . . . [The Canucks coaches] asked me if I ever played forward before, I said 'no,' and they said, 'OK, just play.'"
Then on Wednesday, Diaz, an unrestricted free agent this summer, was sent to New York for a fifth-round draft pick in 2015.
Diaz, who had played eight years in Switzerland, is 5-38-43 in 134 NHL games. He is a mobile right-hander who can pass. Before the trade to Vancouver, he was third in assists (11) among Montreal defensemen.
Diaz hasn't been told if and when he'll get a chance to play, saying he will learn more about the Rangers' system in meetings this morning, although coach Alain Vigneault said Friday night that now wasn't "the time for experimentation."
Derek Dorsett and Justin Falk were healthy scratches. It was Dorsett's second scratch in the last four games. Dan Carcillo has been playing regularly on the fourth line . . . The Rangers host Detroit on Sunday at 12:30. The game was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m.