For far too long, us New York Rangers fans have seen defenseman John Moore struggle this season. His minutes are getting lower and lower due to him not gaining the trust of the Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault in pressure situations late in the game. Because of this, Vigneault has been double-shifting defensemen late in the game on the Rangers’ third pair, which causes more fatigue and can make the Rangers’ vulnerable to late scoring chances.
Besides the trade Rangers GM Glen Sather made, swapping Ryan Callahan for Martin St. Louis, he also traded a fifth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks for depth defenseman Raphael Diaz. I will admit I do not know much about the man, but reading scouting reports on him, I have seen enough to warrant the Rangers trying him out in replace of Moore on the third pair.
According to scouting reports, Diaz is a good puck-moving defenseman who does not make many mistakes when possessing the puck. This is something Moore has struggled with all season as he always seems very jittery with the puck and becomes very susceptible to turnovers. The negative on Diaz is that he is not big at all, listed at 5-foot-11 and only 197 pounds, so he is not really physical — but neither is Moore.
So in my opinion, replacing Moore with Diaz will not hurt the Rangers one bit and could only help. The Rangers’ defense needs to limit their mistakes and costly turnovers, and more times than not it is the result of a bad play by Moore. The last thing you want is to tire out your defensemen late in the season when trying to make the playoffs, which is still up in the air for the Rangers as they are currently barely hanging on to a playoff spot with only 19 games left to go.
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