It has been almost two weeks since the New York Rangers removed defenseman Anthony DeAngelo from the team’s roster. A physical altercation with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev was the finals straw in a turbulent career in New York for Tony D.
DeAngelo has been in and out of the team’s dog house since his arrival in 2017. Despite his ongoing feuds on social media, which much of the time were more related to his political view than his play on the ice, he has shown he can be a valued asset to this team.
Last season DeAngelo had a career year. He was ranked fourth in defenseman in scoring, recording 15 goals, 38 assists for 53 points while appearing in 68 games.
What Went Wrong
How things turned so incredibly bad can not be answered in one simple statement. It looked like for every one step forward the defenseman took, he then took two steps backward. It appeared that the Rangers were happy with how things were going with their relationship with DeAngelo when the team signed him to a two-year, $9.6 million contract in October 2020.
During the offseason, DeAngelo started a lot of dialogue on his Twitter account which led to a lot of banter between him and his fans. A Donald Trump supporter, DeAngelo never held back what he felt, which tended to get him into some trouble.
The organization wanted him to back down a little bit with regards to what he had to say on Twitter, but holding back an opinion was not DeAngelo’s style.
He spoke to Larry Brooks of the New York Post about his time on Twitter and views of the MAGA stance saying,
“I’m definitely misportrayed in my opinion,People have different opinions and I respect everyone’s opinion. I never attack anyone for their opinion. I have mine that obviously I shared, but I never thought that I crossed the line with anything. I understand people not liking it, the way things went, but I’m definitely not an extremist, that I can tell you. I thought I gave my opinion, I respect other people’s opinions, and that’s all I thought I was doing.”
More cause for concern was the unproven and false story that DeAngelo took the first goal puck of rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller.
DeAngelo was the center of another drama prior to the Georgiev altercation that incorrectly stated he would not return the puck to Miller.
Miller’s agent Ian Pulver told the Post,
“K’Andre Miller was never part of any part of the Tony DeAngelo story at all, there were no issues between them of any kind. There is no reason he should be part of this.“As far as the first-goal puck being an issue, K’Andre never even knew it to be an issue. It was always his understanding that the puck was with the training staff. It’s not right that he has become part of this story.”
The altercation with Georgiev was all general manager Jeff Gorton was willing to take. DeAngelo was placed and cleared waivers days later.
Is Isolating Tony D The Right Move?
In the five games DeAngelo has missed, the club has a record of 2-2-1. They have been shutout in two out of their last three games and have managed to score just nine goals in the five-game span.
The power-play has been invisible during this stretch. In the last 5 games, the Blueshirts have had 18 man-advantage opportunities but have managed just one power-play goal. The club is currently ranked 28th in the league with the man-advantage this season (11.5%).
Last season the club finished the abbreviated shorten season ranked seventh in the NHL at 22.9% effective. DeAngelo had 19 power-play points last season (3G, 16A).
After two weeks of isolation, with the teams struggling to find goal scoring and wins, suffering game after game of one-goal losses the question must be asked, are the Rangers causing their own demise by not re-activating Tony D back into the lineup?
The team has been unable to trade him currently which was no surprise. Though there has been a little chatter about a potential trade, nothing has panned out so far. Rumors and unsubstantial reports have circulated that the team will sit the 25-year-old until the end of the season where they will then -lace him on the unprotected expansion draft list, then buy him out if he is not claimed.
That’s is a huge waste of salary cap and talent to prove a point. DeAngelo is scheduled to make $4.8 million this season to sit at home and wait.
Pride Needs To Be Placed Aside
Let’s forget about his political views and his antics on and off the ice. The kid can play hockey when he is focused.
The Blueshirts were not a strong team defensively prior to the start of the season, and now due to injuries to Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson are relying on Libor Hajek and Anthony Bitetto.
DeAngelo may not appear to be the savior the club is missing, but he is an offensive threat when he is on the ice, something the team has been lacking with the struggles are Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome among the many on this team.
At the end of the day, it is all bout getting wins which this team has done only four times this season (4-6-3).
A distraction or a needed addition is what the organization needs to answer. Two weeks is a long time to take a look at what the pros and cons would be for bringing DeAngelo back to the team.
What the team can ill afford to do is let him sit at his home in New Jersey and watch the team struggle to find a way to win one-goal contests.