Even by his own admission, New York Ranger defenseman Jacob Trouba did not have the season as he wanted in 2019-20. This came on the heels of his seven-year, $56 million contract extension that has already been considered as the worst contract in the league category just after one year. This season, Trouba is hoping to change this and the Rangers have provided him with a new D-line pairing in Tony DeAngelo.
This will be Trouba’s fourth different regular partner after Brady Skjei, Libor Hajek, and Brendan Smith all took turns playing on his left side last season. This also means that D’Angelo will be playing on his off-side, something he says will not impact his play.
It’s more responsibility, more ice time obviously, and bigger responsibility to the team and myself.” DeAngelo told the media. “So I’m happy about that. Me and Troubs have been talking about anything you would talk about with a partner – I told him I’m comfortable on the left side; pass it to me on my backhand, pass it to me on the forehand, make all the plays he would make to a left-handed shot. So I’m going to be comfortable and I have to make sure I’m doing a good job for him.”
DeAngelo also has a little extra motivation coming into this season.
“Personally, I’m kind of tired of hearing of all the defensive woes of mine,” DeAngelo told the media after the third day of training camp. “So my main goal this year is to be as good as I can defensively. I think the offense is going to take care of itself, so my first goal this year is to be real good defensively. I think I’m going to keep up with the point production and the puck movement, power play, and all that stuff is going to come. So it’s a big goal of mine to become real solid defensively and be relied on in situations.”
As for Trouba, he said that took him a little time to adapt to everything. There were different systems he had to learn, in particular in the Ranger’s own defensive’ zone. He did feel that he got better as the year went on.
At the very least, this tandem should be a difficult physical matchup for opposing forwards. It will also be interesting to see the feisty DeAngelo take on some of the top forwards in their new division, especially the always annoying Brad Marchand.
It is the hope that this tandem can lead a defensive group that at least on paper, is not as good or experienced as they were last year. Both players seem motivated for that task.