With the New York Rangers season now over, the club has some difficult personnel decisions to make. Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo is one of those decisions that the Rangers will have to take a hard look at.
The 24 -year-old defenseman had a career year with the Blueshirts this season finding the back of the net 15 times while recording 53 points in 68 games. A principal player on the team’s power-play, DeAngelo had 19 points (16 helpers) when the team had the man advantage.
He has now played in 200 career NHL games for both the Rangers and the Arizona Coyotes (his first season in the NHL).
A Contract Mess
Last season the defenseman was a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights. The Rangers hierarchy played hardball and refused to sign him to a long term contract. The two sides finally agreed to a one year, $925,000 contract. The Rangers weren’t sold on his past performance and stood firm with their one year offer.
Now the tide has changed with DeAngelo holding arbitration rights this offseason as he is coming off a career year. DeAngelo averaged 19:17 minutes per game which was second on the team for a defenseman (Jacob Trouba 22:34). He is due for a big raise, but will the Rangers be willing to give him his payday?
The Rangers are very tight against the salary cap. Next season has some very big numbers salary-wise that will prevent the Blueshirts from improving the club. Jacob Trouba- $8 million, Marc Staal- $5.7 million, and Brendan Smith-$4.35 million have the highest cap hit for a defenseman. Superstar Artemi Panarin’s cap hit of $11.642 million and Henrik Lundqvist’s $8 million shows how dire the Rangers cap situation really is.
The team will have to figure out what direction they want things to go before a decision can be made on DeAngelo. Lundqvist’s situation is one that has been spoken about all season. Many believe that he and his salary will be off the books either by a buyout, trade or retirement.
The team will have to consider other options such as another buyout for either Marc Staal or Brendan Smith.
Should the Rangers and DeAngelo be unable to agree on a new contract, the two sides would have to go to the dreaded Arbitration process. Here the Rangers would try to downplay the value of the young defenseman, but the ultimate decision on a salary amount and length of the contract would be determined by the arbitrator. This is a huge risk for the Rangers as a big contract determination could derail the improvement of the club.
The Rangers have worked hard to develop DeAngelo since his acquisition three years ago. Finding a suitable deal is in the best interests of both sides to keep the hope of getting back to the playoffs next season.