by Michael Ham-Fan, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

(Photo by Clement Allard/The Canadian Press)
(Photo by Clement Allard/The Canadian Press)

MONTREAL, QC- One of the last five players to be cut from the 2014 training camp, Darren Dietz was an interesting player for the Montreal Canadiens coaching staff. After giving him a longer look, the 6-foot-1, 205 pound defenseman was, in the final tally, considered too raw after only one season in the AHL. He was sent back to Hamilton to start the 2014-15 season.

After being sent back down, the former fifth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft put up a very solid season with 17 points, good for second in scoring by defensemen in Hamilton.

Darren Dietz is considered as a two-way defenseman, who is especially solid on defense. He is not afraid to get physical with his big frame and good balance. On top of dishing out big hits on the blue line, Dietz is also a player who likes to defend his teammates. As a matter of fact, Dietz has had 284 penalty minutes in three seasons in the WHL and 113 penalty minutes in 105 games in the AHL, a big number of those minutes being major penalties for fighting. This current management team loves players that have good character and Dietz is certainly another one of them.

Dietz also had very decent offensive production in his junior career in the WHL, earning 129 points in three full seasons. Although he definitely has potential to be put up points, I am doubtful that the talent will translate into points in the NHL. Nonetheless, his calm first pass fits in the transition game of the Canadiens.

Obviously, in this upcoming training camp, it is unlikely that Dietz will stick with the big team given the Habs’ defensive depth, especially with its abundance of young defensemen. To win a spot on the team, he will have to outperform the likes of Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn, and that is considering that Nathan Beaulieu already has a starter spot. The team also has a couple of high potential defensemen that are younger than Dietz in their system in Brett Lernout and Noah Juulsen.

Canadiens will also probably prefer a more experienced defenseman with less upside to be the seventh defenseman, and someone like Mark Barberio would fit better in that role.

Therefore, a starting spot may not be available for the 22-year old defenseman.

To make a long story short, the competition will be very fierce in coming seasons on the blue-line. As for this season, Dietz will have to have a stellar training camp to be on a possible recall list during the season if there is any case of injuries or bad performance. Dietz already seems to be highly evaluated by the current coaching staff, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a taste of the NHL this season.

In my personal opinion, I think that for one thing, if Dietz has a good camp and proves himself worthy of a NHL-spot, it may put even more pressure on a guy like Jarred Tinordi who’s been having a very tough time making the NHL for a couple of years. I see Dietz as a comparable player to Greg Pateryn, but with the latter being mainly focused on defense and Dietz having a more rounded game. The fact that the Habs have this much depth in young defenseman will benefit the team going forward, whether it be for trade purposes or for direct contribution to the Canadiens’ defense corps.

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Lien vers mes articles en français : -------------------Michael is a Staff Writer for All Habs Magazine. He completed a bachelor's degree in Psychology at the Université de Montréal and is now doing his Masters' degree at the Université de Sherbrooke in Clinical Sciences. Michael has been a hockey fan and a Habs fans pretty much all his life, so for the last two decades and a half. He was born in Montreal to a Chinese mother and a Honduran-Chinese father, so he is fluent in French, English and Cantonese. He understands Spanish and Mandarin but not enough to speak it. His objective in writing is to give information and to give his opinion. At no point will he try to act as an expert on the subject. Michael is humbled to be able to write on hockey and that has always been a dream for him. He attends a lot of hockey games and practices during the year (Habs, Juniors etc.) and when he is not at the game, he is watching them at home, so he will base his opinion a lot on what he has actually seen rather than what he has heard. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael est un chroniqueur pour Le Magazine All Habs. Il a complété un baccalauréat spécialisé en Psychologie à l'Université de Montréal et il est maintenant, à sa première année en maîtrise en Sciences Cliniques à l'Université de Sherbrooke. Michael a été un amateur de hockey et un partisan des Canadiens depuis les vingt-cinq dernières années. Il parle quotidiennement en français, en anglais et en cantonais. Il comprend aussi l'espagnol et le mandarin sans être très fluide. Michael a appris que la modestie et le respect étaient deux valeurs nécessaires dans la vie. Son approche pour écrire des articles est de donner son opinion basée sur de l'information concrète. Son but n'est surtout pas de se prendre pour un expert. Il assiste très souvent à des matchs de hockey (Canadiens, Juniors, etc.) et lorsqu'il n'est pas dans les estrades, il les regarde chez lui. Donc, son opinion sera basée sur ce qu'il aura vu, plus que ce qu'il aurait entendu. Donc, ses articles ne seront jamais écrits sous le point de vue d'un expert, mais bien celui d'un amateur qui veut susciter la discussion avec ses pairs.


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