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Montreal has had issues with its third defensive pairing all season. Raphael Diaz, Douglas Murray and Francis Bouillon are all having terrible seasons. Any combination of the three has failed.
Yet this has been a problem that has been basically overlooked by the coaching staff and management. Diaz, Murray, Bouillon and their combined minus-23 rating have been rolled out each night regardless of result.
Recently, there has been a feeling that change is coming, however.
First, there were the rumors, like this one by Randy Miller of NJ.com, that Daniel Briere would be traded for a defenseman (namely Anton Volchenkov of the New Jersey Devils). Rumors are, of course, only that, but Montreal is likely looking to add a defender by the trade deadline.
Second, top prospect Nathan Beaulieu is back with big club. He is a puck-moving defenseman who will make mistakes in his own zone. But he will also provide extra offense from the back end, something Montreal desperately needs.
Given the mistakes that are currently being made by Montreal defensemen not named Markov and Subban, the Canadiens seem better off by rolling the dice with Beaulieu. He offers far more upside than any of the bottom three currently in the lineup.
So if Beaulieu stays, it's likely that Diaz goes. There simply isn't room in the lineup for someone who is a similar player.
A trade could be coming for Raphael Diaz. He might not even be a Montreal Canadien by the time the Sochi Games come around.