New York Rangers: Not just just a simple thing to cut Tony DeAngelo

After the news that the New York Ranger‘s troubled defenseman Tony DeAngelo has cleared waivers, the question now becomes what to do 25-year-old lightning rod.

So the Rangers have the next move in dealing with DeAngelo. Pierre LeBrun has reported that the Rangers are still determining the next steps for DeAngelo now that he has cleared waivers and that they are working closely on it with his agent, Pat Brisson.

While many feel they should just release him, it is not quite that simple. First of all, there is the issue of that pesky salary cap.

There is a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that allows for a player’s contract to be terminated based on conduct, it is not sure if the Rangers would win a case if DeAngelo and the NHLPA decide to challenge the Ranger’s actions.

However, because of DeAngelo’s age, he is 25 and doesn’t turn 26 until October, the Rangers could buy out DeAngelo’s contract in June for one-third of the cost, not the regular two-thirds.

The Rangers re-signed DeAngelo to a two-year, $9.6-million contract carrying a cap hit of $4.8 million this season and next. That would mean a buyout would cost $883,333 each of the next two seasons, with a cap hit of $383,333 in 2021-22 and $883,333 in 2022-23, according to CapFriendly.com

The next possibility would be to trade DeAngelo, which is harder to do because of his behavior history. As Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet.ca pointed out, “The thing about this is that you really have to do a deep dive to make sure that you want to do this” and also pointed out that “any team that does it (take DeAngelo) there’s gonna be heat. And are teams going to take that heat?”

It is not like DeAngelo can go anywhere in North American and hot have his behavior issues follow him, as his exploits have been well-documented since he had the incidents while playing in juniors.

A trade will be a little more likely if the Rangers were willing to take on some of his cap hit.

While it is possible, the Rangers could send him to Hartford, but it does not seem plausible that the Rangers would want him around their prospects.

If they do, and DeAngelo refuses to report, that would be cause for a suspension or a termination of his contract.

The “odds-on-favorite” solutions seem to be to place him on the taxi-squad and/or pay him to sit at home for an unspecified period of time. Maybe a “time-out” would give DeAngelo and the Rangers some time to work things out that could benefit all parties.

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers: Sending a message by waiving Tony DeAngelo

The New York Rangers made a bit of a surprising move on Sunday when they placed Defenseman Tony DeAngelo on waivers. What made this somewhat surprising is that DeAngelo is in the first year of a two-year, $9.6 million contract that was signed just this offseason.

However, the 2-4-2 Rangers have not gotten off the start they wanted, and their poor play in the defensive end has been a part of their slow start. DeAngelo has one assist over six games this season after having a career season in 2019-20, scoring 15 goals and adding 38 assists over 68 games.

There could be many issues to this, starting with the idea that the Rangers may need to move on from an offensive type of blue-liner who is not helping the locker room culture.

In this case, offensive is referring to his skills in being a point-producing defenseman, not at all related to his political leanings that seem to send some in the Twitter universe into a frenzy. More on that later.

This appears to more of a case of a player who was not only underachieving but also someone whose antics have finally become more of a detriment to the team.

After the announcement of DeAngelo being placed on waivers, Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic posted an article that stated that DeAngelo got into an altercation with Alexandar Georgiev after the OT loss. The incident was a result of the fact that DeAngelo and Georgiev had a miscommunication on a loose puck almost immediately before the winning goal was scored. The inability to clear the puck did not allow the exhausted players on the ice to change up, which resulted in part in Sydney Crosby being able to win the game for the Penguins.

Georgiev was held out of practice for “maintenance” on Sunday.

However, one incident does not usually result in a player being put on waivers. Physical altercations sometimes happen with players in teams on all levels of sports. This is more about many factors contributing to this decision.

After Sunday’s practice, head coach David Quinn addressed this issue per Stephen Whyno of AP Sports: “There’s always rumors, I’m not gonna address rumors. This isn’t about one incident. It’s not about one thing.”

Translation: Yes, something happened and yes between his behavior and on-ice play, we may be moving on from this player.

DeAngelo does have some behavior history, most recently when he has benched two games for an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the opening night loss to the Islanders. This is on top of two known benchings in the last three seasons.

Yes, the team has talked to DeAngelo quite a bit about his social media postings, but this is only a small part of the issue. Playing poor hockey and provoking a confrontation with a teammate is not only unacceptable, but it is also more magnified when the team is struggling out of the gate of a new season.

DeAngelo’s antics have long followed him in his hockey career. He was suspended twice in juniors for violating the league’s harassment, abuse, and diversity policy for making inappropriate comments. He was also suspended in juniors and while a member of the Arizona Coyotes for abuse of an official.

At this point, the New York Rangers have to send this message to him and the team in order to maintain and/or promote a positive culture on a team that is struggling. It is bad enough when you are underachieving and losing. It cannot be compounded by a “hot head” who is not contributing to the team in a positive way.

The “fans” who are very happy about DeAngelo being put on waivers should not rejoice too quickly. It is not likely that he will be claimed by any team before noon on Monday.

More than likely, the Rangers will have some decisions to make.

Cutting him outright is not likely since the Blueshirts will probably not want to eat the cap hit this move would require. They could send him to Hartford but that is transferring the issues to another team.

The most likely scenario will see him being sent to the taxi squad, which could keep him away from the main group of players for a bit until DeAngelo can have some time to re-think how he wants to proceed with his hockey career and the behaviors that are associated with being a team player.

Until something can be figured out, Quinn has indicated that Anthony Bittero will replace DeAngelo in the lineup with Lidor Hajek next in line from the taxi squad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers should not look past the New Jersey Devils

New York Rangers, Igor Shesterkin

It may have easy for New York Ranger fans to look at the schedule and see a potential breather game on Tuesday night against their rivals, the New Jersey Devils. After all, the Devils finished last in the Metropolitan Division last season, 11 points behind the Rangers when the season came to a grinding halt last March due to the coronavirus.

However,  the Devils are off to a strong 1-0-1 start, with the even more impressive fact that the points came against last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Boston Bruins. To add a little bit to the Tuesday night drama is that the Devil’s new head coach is former Ranger assistant Lindy Ruff.

The Rangers defense will have to deal with the Devils’ first line that has been excellent during the first two games of the season. This line features Jack Hughes, who was drafted first overall by the Devils in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. With the Rangers drafting Alexis Lafreniere first overall, this will feature a matchup of the last two overall top selections.

Hughes struggled last season but already has 3 assists on the season. Hughes has shown some nice chemistry on the young season with linemates Kyle Palmieri and Yegor Sharangovich. Even with the shortened training camp, Sharongovich has had some nice chemistry with his linemates after just coming over from his KHL team.

This will provide a challenge to the Ranger’s goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, who was named the starter for the game after Monday’s practice by head coach David Quinn. Igor Shesterkin started that opener but looked shaky. Georgiev started on Saturday night and shut out the Islanders.

Part of this goes with David Quinn’s philosophy of sticking with what worked, including the apparent benching of defenseman Tony DeAngelo.  Quinn told lohud.com beat writer Vince Mercogliano that doing this was “Much more about sticking with what worked. The discipline piece is done and over with. You win 5-0 and play the way we did, you want to build off that.”

The Devils also have an outstanding goalie of their own in Mackenzie Blackwood, who would get noticed a lot more if the Devils were a better team. In fact, Blackwood may have been the primary reason why the Devils were so successful against the Bruins.

In those first two games, Blackwood has stopped 52 of 52 shots at even strength. With an early .954 save percentage, the Blueshirts will need to find a way to slip the puck past him.

The game on Tuesday will also see the Rangers celebrate and honor the commitment, sacrifice, and contributions of frontline workers across the Tri-State area. The Rangers will also wear custom warm-up jerseys to be auctioned after the game at auctions.nhl.com, and an exclusive patch, inspired by Northwell Health’s first responders, will also be available for purchase. Proceeds of both will benefit Northwell Health Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers need some quick remedies for Saturday night

Coming off a poorly played 4-0 loss to the Islanders, the New York Rangers will need to turn things around very quickly if they are to improve upon Thursday night’s effort. The added sense of urgency is also needed as the Blueshirts will face those same Islanders at the Garden on Saturday night.

In his post-game virtual press conference after the game, head coach David Quinn was quite clear that this needed to happen. “We need to be quick learners,” Quinn said. “It might be a good lesson and a reminder for a bunch of guys who don’t have it in their hockey DNA to play the way we need them to tonight.”

The first lesson will revolve around discipline and execution, especially concerning penalties. While they were 0-3 on the power play, their eight penalties led to two Islander power-play goals. While the Rangers did not seem to get any favors from the referees, there were some penalties that were totally unnecessary.

Quinn may have started his lesson on this topic when on Friday’s practice, Tony DeAngelo, who took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and generally played poorly in the loss, skated with the “taxi squad”. Anthony Bitetto was on the ice with the varsity in a tweet posted by Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic.

The next message sent to players was a Friday practice change in the forward line pairings. Vince Mercogliano of lohud.com shared that Alexis Lafreniere was now skating with the second group while Kaapo Kakko was skating on the third line.

When Mercogliano asked Quinn about this after the practice, Quinn replied “It’s not just a message to Kakko – it’s a message to everybody… If someone plays better than you, they should get a better opportunity.”

Whether or not any of the changes will take place when the puck drops remains to be seen but at least, school is back in session for this young group of Rangers.

One change that will know will take place will be that Alexandar Georgiev will be in goal in the rematch with the Isles.

Even though Igor Shesterkin did not play particularly well, there should not be too much read into the goalie change.

During Wednesday night’s virtual town hall with Rangers fan, Quinn made it quite clear that he feels that “We have two number one goalies.” The general expectation during this unusual 56 game schedule that is put together differently than most years will be that both goaltenders will see a substantial amount of time in the net.

Regardless, the Rangers are going to need better play from the goaltender if they are going to compete with the Islanders.

Then again, that could be said for just about everyone who wore a blue jersey Thursday night.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers could use more toughness in their lineup for 2020-21

Whether you use the word toughness or the ever-popular hockey term grit, there is without a doubt that the 2020-21 version of the New York Rangers needs a team to display some physicality and do it in an intelligent matter.

This was very evident when the Rangers were swept out of last year’s playoffs by the Hurricanes, as the Blueshirts were easily manhandled by the Canes. It was not like they did not try, they just were not sure how to play physically in the proper manner. This was evidenced by Chris Kreider‘s comments after the Rangers were eliminated.

“We thought the playoffs were a blood sport, and we were going to go out there and run around and hit, instead of playing the puck possession style that we play,” he said. “A big part of that is on me. Obviously, we needed to snap out of that sooner. I need to acknowledge that. I should have done whatever I could to get us back on the right track.”

During training camp 2021, head coach David Quinn knows that his team will have to play physically smarter in order to improve upon the gains they made last season.

“We need more of an in-your-face, staying-on-top-of-people, defensive-conscious approach to having success,” Quinn told the media following Tuesday’s practice. “It just can’t be one guy on a line.”

This means not only the defense but the forwards must be better on defense, starting with forechecking. Something that is easier said than done with a group of skilled players, but who think offense first.

Part of this will be done with the new pairing of Jacob Trouba and Tony DeAngelo, who should provide more physicality to the team when they are on the ice.

For the forwards, it might be a bit tougher as the Rangers saw one of their more grittier players last season leave to take up a new residence in Carolina.

Quinn also added about the physicality, “we don’t need just one or two guys to do it, we need everybody to do  it”

Possibly inspired by the NFL who are now in their playoffs, Quinn has asked that his team have a mentality that is more similar to a football player.

“In football, every yard, every inch matters,” Quinn said. “And I think in hockey, sometimes people say, ‘I’m close to this guy, I’ll let someone else do.’ And to me, we have to get out of that mentality. We have to get out of that mentality to make the next step as an organization.”

 

 

 

 

 

Will the Trouba-DeAngelo pairing work for the New York Rangers?

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.

 

The New York Rangers agree to terms with Tony DeAngelo

After recently re-signing Alexandar Georgiev, the New York Rangers have agreed to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

It’s a two-year pact carrying an average annual value of $4.8 million, reports TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

DeAngelo tallied 15 goals and 53 points in 68 games with the Rangers during 2019-20. The 24-year-old established career-highs in several categories last season, including goals, assists, points, plus/minus rating, and games played.

Selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round (No. 19) of the 2014 NHL Draft, DeAngelo has scored 105 points (24 goals, 81 assists) in 200 regular-season games with the Rangers and Arizona Coyotes.

The Sewell, N.J., native tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in goals and points, and tied for ninth among defensemen in assists, power-play assists, and power-play points in 2019-20. He also became the first Rangers defenseman to record at least 50 points in a season since Brian Leetch in 2001-02.

 

 

 

A Fast exit from the New York Rangers as four players file for arbitration

New York Rangers

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed free-agent forward Jesper Fast, who spent the past seven seasons with the New York Rangers, to a three-year contract with a $2 million average annual value, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN.

Last year with the Blueshirts, Fast posted 12 goals, 29 points, with a +16 rating in 69 games. His career-best season came in 2017-18, with 13 goals and 33 points in 71 games.  The Rangers drafted him in the sixth round in 2010.

In the “if you cannot beat them join them” category, Fast is being remembered by Hurricane fans playing a role in the Rangers’ dominance against Carolina in recent years, with five goals and 14 points in 24 games, his most against any team.

In another interesting plot twist, Fast will be rejoining a former teammate that leveled quite a hit on him during the most recent playoffs. Early in Game 1, Fast was slammed into the boards by Canes defenseman Brady Skjei, a former Rangers teammate. Fast did not return to the game or the series, It will prove interesting to see what their first conversation might be.

“Jesper is an intelligent, versatile player who will fit the mold of how the Carolina Hurricanes play hockey under Rod Brind’Amour,” Carolina president and general manager Don Waddell said in a statement.

Four rangers file for arbitration

Right around the time the Fast signing was revealed, the NHLPA posted a story that 26 players have filed for salary arbitration, including current Blueshirts Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Alexandar Georgiev, and Brendan Lemieux.

The deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration notification is Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. ET. Salary Arbitration hearings will be held from Oct. 20 to Nov. 8.

In the case for Strome, his award would be just for one season since upon completion of the 2020-21 season, he would be an unrestricted free agent. It has been speculated that he could earn around $4.75 million.

Since DeAngelo has four years of experience, the Rangers can decide whether it is a one or two-year award since they didn’t elect for arbitration. If they decided on two years it would take him to the spot that Strome is in currently.

Georgiev has just 77 games of experience to his name, and is coming off an entry-level deal that saw him count $792,500 against the salary cap.

Lemieux has 131 games of experience, and made $925,000 this past season after re-signing with the Rangers. He had been acquired from the Winnipeg Jets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHL Salary Cap Hinders the New York Rangers Off-season Decisions

New York Rangers

The off-season for the New York Rangers will consist of some easy choices and some very hard choices that will be impacted by the NHL salary cap. The easy choice came when the Rangers won the second phase of the draft lottery and won the first pick, which means they will either select young sensation Alexis Lafreniere or trade the pick if some team comes in with a trade offer that they cannot refuse.  The second issue is the effect the salary cap has on the rest of their off-season decisions.

The New York Rangers will not keep three goalies

“We won’t go into next year with three goalies,” General Manager Jeff Gorton said recently.

One of the issues in this decision is the flat cap that the NHL has next year. The Rangers were already going to have issues with the cap. Under the recently reached agreement,  the salary cap will remain flat at $81.5 million next season.

Since the Rangers have said that they will not keep three goalies, either Henrik Lundqvist or Alexandar Georgiev will have to be moved from the roster.

One option is to trade Georgiev and keep Lundqvist as Igor Shesterkin’s backup for the final year of his contract, allowing the King to finish out his contract, retire as a Ranger will all of the pomp and circumstance that he deserves. The issue with that is the Rangers are not going to let Georgiev go for less than what they think he is worth, which probably means a first-round pick. This is not likely to happen, so the next move is to find an amicable way to part with Lundqvist.

Ranger’s President John Davidson said that should happen.  “The Rangers are really going to have to and want to do the right thing with,” Davidson said last week “for a “future Hall of Famer.”

That means that the Rangers could trade him, which is unlikely. The most realistic option is to buy out Lundqvist, which comes with a cap hit of $5.5 million worth of dead space for ’20-21, a savings of $3 million, and a dead-space hit of $1.5 million in ’21-22.

There have been some rumors that Lundqvist might go back to Sweden and play with Frolunda, which also has his brother on their team. However, Frolunda has denied those rumors.

The New York Rangers also have a decision concerning other players

The current list of free agents includes Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo, and Georgiev, who are restricted, and Jesper Fast who is un-restricted. The decision to let Fast go might be easier if they draft Lafreniere, who should nicely slide into Fast’s line spot. The other ones must either be signed or traded or just let walk to another team.

In order to free up cap space, there will have to be buyouts, most likely of Brendan Smith and/or Marc Staal, and hope that the young defenseman in the system can step up and replace them.

It will be a busy off-season as the Rangers try to get over the quick and unexpected play-off exit and trying to keep the foundation of young talented players that can help the Blueshirts compete for a Stanley Cup in the near future.

 

 

A Letter Home from New York Rangers “Summer Camp”

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Dear Mom and Dad:

As you know, New York Rangers head coach David Quinn does not want us to call this training camp. “This is not a training camp. We are picking up where we left off, and I want to be crystal clear about that. We’re trying to win a Stanley Cup.” coach Quinn said. Whatever you call it, things are going really well here in Tarrytown.

We had our first scrimmage on Wednesday. It was kind of sluggish as the boys are still trying to get in shape. It has been great to watch Artemi Panarin‘s and Mika Zibanejad‘s lines pushing each other. They have also been pushing each other’s buttons on the ice too!

Everyone here has been wondering who is going to be the starting goalie. All of the guys did really well but most people thought that Igor Shesterkin looked a little bit better than the others. Even Coach Quinn thought so. “I thought Igor had a great day today. I thought he was outstanding today,” Quinn said of Shesterkin, who entered this camp as the former No. 1. “I liked all of the [goalies]. I thought Hank had a good day and Georgie had a good day.”

It was good to see Chris Kreider. After he got hurt in March we did not know how well he would be skating. The good news is that he is telling everyone that he has fully recovered from his broken foot. Some people are more worried about him when we take our field trip to Toronto, as he might be the guy who escapes from the bubble. (oh, when you watch us in Toronto, you might want to keep the sound down. These guys use some colorful language)

One of the best players in camp has been the defenseman, Adam Fox. Many guys were upset when he did not get nominated to win the Calder Cup, which is given to the best first-year player. Foxyclean (that’s his nickname) didn’t even complain. “Having your name in a conversation like that is really special,” Fox said. “It’s not something I set out to do at the beginning of the year. But there are a lot of great players and I’m not really disappointed. … recognition is nice here and there, but it’s not really what I set out for.”

See what a great guy he is Mom and Dad!

Coach Quinn was a little upset but he did not let on to everyone. “I might be a little biased, but this guy has done an awful lot for us. I keep focusing on the defensive side of it because I think the offensive side speaks for itself. He’s a guy that – obviously we’re fortunate to have Tony DeAngelo here, so his power-play opportunity probably hasn’t been what Quinn Hughes’ has been or Cale Makar’s has been. I’m not taking anything away from the seasons that they’ve had. They’ve had spectacular seasons too. It’s not an easy thing to do when you’ve got this extremely talented group of rookies.”

Now its time to clean up, get checked out, and head to my solo cabin. Write to you soon!

Your Loving Son,

Peter Puck Jr.