This afternoon it was announced that defenseman Tony DeAngelo had been placed on waivers by the Rangers.
At first glance, this move seemed bizarre. While Tony has gotten off to a poor start during this 2021 campaign (6-0-1-1 (-6)), the team as a whole has too. Certainly, his poor stat line and play through 6 games this season does not warrant being waived, especially considering he scored 53 points through 68 games last season.
To add to the confusion, the Rangers had resigned DeAngelo to a two-year contract worth an annual value of $4.8 million this past offseason. Why would the Rangers waive a player they just re-signed?
Because of these reasons, speculation among Rangers fans about the reason why DeAngelo was suddenly waived ensued shortly after the announcement.
Controversy is not exactly new to DeAngelo, who has not only been suspended in both the juniors and the NHL for the abuse of an official, but also for violating the Ontario Hockey League’s policy for keeping “homophobic, racist and sexist language out of the game.” Even recently, DeAngelo challenged a fan on Twitter and asked “What happened to Covid-19” after the election, and has since left Twitter for Parler—a social media service that has been banned from Amazon, Apple, and Google platforms due to its role in the January 6 attack on our Nation’s Capitol.
Given DeAngelo’s past along with the nature of the waiving, many Ranger fans began to suspect that something regarding DeAngelo must have occurred following last night’s overtime loss to the Penguins.
Ranger fan’s suspicions were confirmed today when Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic and Larry Brooks of the New York Post both reported that following the game last night, Tony DeAngelo and goaltender Alex Georgiev were involved in a physical altercation.
For the Rangers, this is likely the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It is hard to imagine DeAngelo rejoining the team, and equally as hard to imagine another NHL organization claiming DeAngelo given the recent incident and what is known about him, not to mention the flat salary cap. While the Rangers could send DeAngelo to Hartford and save just over a $1 million in salary, I doubt the Rangers would want DeAngelo to play with a group of young, impressionable prospects that they think very highly of.
DeAngelo is an immensely gifted hockey player, but at age 25, he has already been a part of 3 NHL organizations. The Tampa Lightning selected DeAngelo 19 overall in the 2014 NHL Draft but traded him to the Arizona Coyotes just two years later for a second round pick. NHL teams do not frequently trade their top prospects just years after they were drafted.
The Coyotes, too, gave up on DeAngelo, trading him to the Rangers a year after they acquired him.
Both the Lightning and Coyotes decided that concern for DeAngelo’s character outweighed his apparent talent, and traded him. The Rangers clearly did not share these concerns when they acquired DeAngelo, or perhaps they thought that he was above his past and his maturity would develop along with his play. Ultimately, the Rangers were incorrect in their evaluation of DeAngelo.
Only time will tell what is next for DeAngelo, but this seemed like a foregone conclusion in hindsight.
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(Featured Image Credit: Julio Cortez/AP)