The Tampa Bay Lightning selected defenseman Anthony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Hockey League with the 19th overall selection.
DeAngelo, a right-shooting offensive defenseman, had unbelievable point totals in the OHL for a defenseman, with 58 points in 62 games two years ago and a ridiculous 71 points in 51 games during his draft season, for a near 1.4 PPG scoring rate which is better than many CHL forwards taken ahead of him.
Stats from EliteProspects:
The knock on DeAngelo has always been character/off-ice, after several suspensions in the OHL for abuse of officials and violations of the diversity policy after directing a slur at one of his teammates.
Yzerman put some of those concerns to rest with these comments on DeAngelo:
"We think he's a great offensive talent, he's a great skater, a chance to be a real good top-4 defenseman in the NHL...We did our homework. With the people he's played for, played with, his family .. we think this is a young man with great potential. We've talked about the suspensions ... he's gonna have to change if he's gonna make it as a professional. These kids are 18-19 .. they're gonna change. We expect him to change for the better."
In terms of changing, DeAngelo really only needs to off the ice. He was the highest scoring defenseman in junior by a wide margin and is a coveted right-shot puck mover. That doesn't mean he should be expected to make it straight to the NHL ... but the Lightning definitely plugged an organizational hole with this pick.
It's also another pick in a long list of Steve Yzerman/Al Murray picks where a player had significant off-ice issues that the team either ignored or determined not important enough to dissuade them from drafting that player.
From SBN scouting reports on DeAngelo, a popular player with several profiles on the network:
DeAngelo has elite offensive abilities from the blueline. He's a smooth skater and incredibly comfortable with the puck on his stick. His instincts and awareness in the offensive end are something that just can't be taught.
I'll admit that the stat line and the style that DeAngelo plays with are what we want in a Flyers defenseman. And I'm sure his ability and local ties are intriguing to the Flyers as well. In a perfect world, he would probably be a great pick for the Flyers.
But we don't live in a perfect world. The fact that he got in trouble for using slurs is bad enough. The fact that it happened more than once is even worse. The fact that he used them directed at his own teammates concerns me about him off the ice.
It appears DeAngelo can play. Production alone can't describe a prospect. Yet, he's got a NHL equivalent of about 34 points given a NHLe of 0.30 for the OHL. (I think that's right, I'm still using Gabe Desjardens' ratios.) Suffice it to say, the guy's an offensive dynamo. He moves quickly, his shot is great, he makes great reads on offense, and the numbers back that up.
Offensively, DeAngelo has it all - excellent skating, a heavy shot, slick puckhandling, excellent poise, and great passing. He lead the OHL in points from a defenseman, racking up 15G / 56A / 71pts on a horrible team. However, defensively, he's often puck-watching, out of position, out-muscled, making bad decisions or giveaways, and sometimes even beat 1-on-1 despite his excellent speed otherwise.
DeAngelo was a points-machine from the blue line this season for Sarnia, racking up more assists than games played. That kind of ability isn't taught for defensemen. That said, it's clearly the strength of his game, and the other areas of playing defense in the pros will be areas for improvement. Unfortunately for DeAngelo, one of the other things you can't teach is size, and he simply doesn't have it.