PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens certainly have missed defenseman Raphael Diaz, who hasn't played Feb. 25 due to a concussion. The team did find a bright side, using Diaz's absence as an opportunity to see how some of the organization's younger players could handle NHL pressure.
However, the stretch run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs means it's time to get serious, and the Canadiens did that Tuesday by trading for defenseman Davis Drewiske from the Los Angeles Kings.
Drewiske, 28, had four points and a plus-3 rating in 20 games with the Kings this season, his fifth in Los Angeles.
However, he had played twice in March, and said the best thing about leaving the Stanley Cup champions will be the opportunity play more often. And with Diaz just now skating for the first time since his injury Wednesday at the team's practice rink in Brossard, Quebec, Drewiske could get lots of playing time.
"You get to play games, that's a positive," he told NHL.com. "You make the most of the opportunity."
Coach Michel Therrien said Drewiske would be paired with Francis Bouillon for the Canadiens' game Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN).
"[Drewiske] is going to fill something that we were looking for, some depth defensively, since we lost Raphael Diaz, who was playing really well for us," Therrien said. "In the meantime we gave experience to our young prospects. It was good for them, good for us to know where they are in their professional careers. Most of those guys were making the first steps in their pro careers. It's a learning process for them. But we're going down the stretch of the season and you need guys with some experience and Davis is going to bring that to our team. I think he's a solid defenseman, plays a simple game, making a good first pass. He was the type of player we were looking for."
Drewiske said he didn't know much about the Canadiens' style of play and was familiar with only a few players -- center Jeff Halpern was a teammate for a short time with the Kings, and Drewiske and injured forward Rene Bourque are alums of the University of Wisconsin.
"We haven't played against the East at all this year, so I don't have a lot of familiarity," he said. "I watched them play a little bit, they're obviously having a lot of success. I'll just try to adapt as quickly as I can to the system."
We had the Flyers' potential lineup earlier; here is how the Canadiens could line up Wednesday:
Michael Ryder - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Brandon Prust
Travis Moen - Jeff Halpern - Mike Blunden
Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin
Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Francis Bouillon - Davis Drewiske
Injured: Raphael Diaz (concussion), Colby Armstrong (lower body), Ryan White (ankle), Rene Bourque (concussion)
Scratched: Tomas Kaberle, Yannick Weber