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Lightning Round: Ex-Bolt Tony DeAngelo on waivers

The well-traveled defenseman might be packing his bags once again.

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Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

On Sunday, the New York Rangers raised a few eyebrows around the NHL when they placed defenseman Anthony (Tony) DeAngelo on waivers. It was a surprising move for a team that had just signed the 25-year-old defenseman to a two-year, $9.6 million extension this past fall. The contract seemed to indicate some stability for a young player that has already played in three separate organizations since being drafted 19th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2014.

He never suited up for the Lightning as he was traded in the summer of 2016 to the Arizona Coyotes for a second round draft pick (a pick that the Lightning used on Libor Hajek, a player who may replace DeAngelo’s minutes in New York this season). The trade followed one season with the Syracuse Crunch where he put up 43 points (6 goals, 37 assists) in 69 games. That record of offense, combined with a less-than-intense dedication to defense, has made him an intriguing prospect for some teams.

Following a season with the Coyotes where he split time between the NHL and AHL, he was dealt to the Rangers along with a first round pick in exchange for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. In New York he’s put up points from the blueline, but struggled defensively. Prior to this season he’s never posted positive possession numbers (only 48% of the shots taken while he’s on the ice are for his team).

Following the move, Rangers head coach Dan Quinn admitted that it wasn’t a singular offense that has led the organization down this road,

“There’s always rumors, as you know,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “I’m not going to address rumors. This isn’t about one incident. It’s not about one thing. It’s a situation the organization felt was best at this current time and we’ll see how the situation plays out.

The “rumors” he is referring to refer to an alleged altercation following New York’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night (a game in which DeAngelo was on the ice for four of the five goals against).

While he’s struggled on the ice with his role as a defenseman, he’s more notorious for his off-ice incidents that date back to his days in junior hockey where he was suspended twice for violating the league’s policy against “homophobic, racist, and sexist language”. He’s also been suspended twice (once in juniors, once in the NHL) for verbal abuse of an official. Just this season, the Rangers scratched him for two games following an incident on opening night where he picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty after yelling at the officials.

Add in a Twitter account (now deactivated) and a podcast that served as a platform for “extreme, antagonistic political ideologies, COVID-19 denialism, and staunch support of the outgoing president (Donald J. Trump)” according to a Yahoo News article, and it’s not a sure thing that another team will want to claim him. That’s a lot of baggage that comes along with a limited, singular skill.

At this point the Rangers have a couple of options. If he clears waivers they can assign him to the taxi squad or AHL and save a little bit of money on his cap hit. They can hope another team claims him and shed his entire contract. Or they can hope he doesn’t report and then terminate his contract. If the allegations of a physical confrontation are true, it’s unlikely that he’ll be back in their uniform in the future. Will another team take a chance on him after three others have cut him loose? Who knows.

Lightning News

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