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Canadiens sign Diaz to 1-year deal

Friday, 05.13.2011 / 10:41 PM / News

Associated Press

MONTREAL (AP) - The Montreal Canadiens have signed Swiss defenseman Raphael Diaz to a one-year contract.

The 25-year-old free agent got a two-way deal that will pay him $900,000 if he sticks with the big club.

"We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Raphael Diaz, who we strongly believe has all the attributes to play in the NHL," general manager Pierre Gauthier said Friday in a statement. "Raphael is a defenseman with excellent offensive and defensive skills, who constantly improved his play over the years."

Diaz had three goals and an assist in six games and averaged 20:52 of ice time for Switzerland at the world championship.

The Canadiens have only two defensemen under contract for next season, P.K. Subban and Jaroslav Spacek. They must decide whether to try to reach new deals with restricted free agents Yannick Weber, Josh Gorges and Alexandre Picard and unrestricted free agents Hal Gill, Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Brent Sopel, James Wisniewski and Paul Mara.

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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals