2008-09: Darren Dietz trained in the Catholic Central High School hockey academy and played 34 games with the Lethbridge Y’s Titans in Alberta midget hockey – posting 4 assists with 62 PMs.
2009-10: Dietz, despite not being drafted in the WHL Bantam Draft, made his WHL with Saskatoon on Dec. 31 and played five games over the holidays. Dietz played three more games with the Blades in March. In eight games with Saskatoon, he scored 1 goal with 1 assist and had 4 PMs and was scoreless with 2 PMs in three playoff games. Dietz spent the bulk of the season playing midget hockey with the Lethbridge Y Hurricanes. In 33 games with the Hurricanes, he scored 9 goals with 15 assists and had 105 PMs.
2010-11: Saskatoon had a memorable regular season run in winning the WHL’s East Division by 29 points and Dietz had a strong first full season for the Blades. In 68 regular season contests, Dietz scored 8 goals with 19 assists and was +17 with 66 PMs. Three of his eight goals came on the power play. In ten playoff contests, Dietz scored once and had 5 assists with 15 PMs. After defeating Prince Albert in a six-game first round series, the Blades were swept by eventual playoff champion Kootenay in the second round. Ranked 138th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, Dietz was selected by Montreal in the 5th round (138th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Dietz returned to Saskatoon after attending his first NHL training camp with the Montreal Canadiens and was named an alternate captain. The tough, physical defenseman played big minutes in the shutdown role while playing on both the power play and penalty killings units. He scored 15 goals (five on the power play) with 29 assists and was +7 with 118 PIMs (eight fighting majors) in 72 regular season games. Dietz had a difficult first round loss in the 2012 WHL playoffs when his Saskatoon team was swept 4-0 by the Medicine Hat Tigers. The physical defenseman gave a wicked two-handed slash to the chest of the Tiger’s star forward, Emerson Etem (ANA) after he scored on the Blades empty net to seal the win for Medicine Hat; receiving a one-game suspension. Dietz was never a factor on the score sheet in the series, contributing 1 assist in the first game and finishing -1 in three games.
2012-13: Dietz was an assistant captain and the leading scorer amongst defensemen for Saskatoon in his third full season with the Blades. He scored 24 goals with 34 assists in 72 games and was +6 with 100 penalty minutes. Saskatoon, the Memorial Cup host team, finished first in the WHL’s East Division but was swept by Medicine Hat in a first round playoff series. Dietz had 1 goal with 1 assist and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes in the four games against Medicine Hat. In four Memorial Cup games he scored 1 goal and was -5 with 8 penalty minutes. The Blades (1-3) were the only team to defeat Memorial Cup champion Halifax before back-to-back losses to Portland and London. Dietz signed a three-year entry-level contract with Montreal in March 2013.
2013-14: Dietz skated in 34 games for Canadiens’ AHL affiliate Hamilton in his first pro season — missing time in the beginning of the season while recovering from a wrist injury and then suffering a season-ending leg injury in February. He had 5 assists and was -3 with 49 penalty minutes for the Bulldogs. Hamilton missed the AHL playoffs, finishing fifth in the North Division.
2014-15: Dietz had a full-time role for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in his second pro season, skating in 71 of 76 games. The second-leading scorer amongst defensemen for the Bulldogs behind one-time Los Angeles King Davis Drewiske, he scored 4 goals with 13 assists and was -3 with 64 penalty minutes. Hamilton finished third in the North Division, six points behind the Chicago Wolves for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
Dietz loves to play on the rush and is excellent in transition. Known as a puck-moving defenceman, he uses elusive speed and a high hockey IQ to find end-to-end opportunities and make life difficult for opposing wingers. He possesses a great first pass and also has a decent shot from the point. He is no slouch in his own end, using his stick to get into passing lanes and his frame to separate opposing players from the puck during battles down low and against the boards. He will need to show more consistency at the AHL level when it comes to putting up points if he is to figure into the Canadiens main roster plans.
Dietz will likely continue progressing in St. John's, playing top-pairing minutes. A place he found himself in at the end of last season.