What to expect from Anthony DeAngelo

anthony deangelo

Since his acquisition in the blockbuster June trade that sent Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to Arizona, Anthony DeAngelo has been the source of much analysis. From his off-ice issues to his on-ice predictions, DeAngelo is going to have the spotlight on him whether he likes it or not. While we all hope he can get his act together off the ice, his on-ice performance is going to make or break him in New York.

What we do know about DeAngelo is that he is supremely talented. He put up a line of 5-9-14 in 39 games on an abysmal Arizona team. It’s tough to really judge a player’s on-ice performance after 39 games on a bad team, so we can work with a combination of tools at our disposal to identify what kind of player we are dealing with.

First things first. We can get some idea of what to expect based on how DeAngelo controls play into and out of the defensive zone and into the offensive zone. Corey Sznajder is the guru of all things zone entries and exits, watching almost every single game across the NHL and manually tracking every time a player is on the ice for entries (offensive zone) and exits (from the defensive zone). The more controlled entries/exits (i.e.: passing or skating with the puck), the better. It means less dump outs and forcing the forwards to chase.

What Corey found was DeAngelo is pretty solid at this. While we don’t have many games to work from, we can deduce that —given DeAngelo’s scouting report— he is adept at the offensive part of the game. He sees the ice well, and drives the game up the ice. We can also deduce that he is good at the transition game, taking the puck from the defensive zone and pushing the puck up the ice to generate chances. This is something the Rangers have sorely lacked since Anton Stralman left town.

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies for DeAngelo though. Sznajder is quick to point out that he struggles in the defensive end, particularly when it comes to forcing the opposition into turnovers/failed entries at the blue line in the defensive zone. Alain Vigneault’s system relies heavily on turnovers at the blue line to transition to rushes, so hopefully this is an area where DeAngelo can improve. For what it’s worth, Sznajder also noted that DeAngelo is basically a mirror image of Marc Staal. Perhaps opposites attract and they complement each other well on the ice. Just food for thought.

It’s not worth it for me to dive into DeAngelo’s stats. It’s too small a sample on a terrible team. Both lead to tremendously skewed numbers. Instead, let’s look at how Barry Trotz Dave Tippett deployed DeAngelo.

Focusing on the top part of this (the bottom bar graph just represents how often the Yotes were tied, down by goals, or up by goals), DeAngelo got the majority of his ice time when the Yotes were down by one. He wasn’t a top pairing guy, so he didn’t get all the minutes, but he was shifted to a top-four role in that situation. Trotz moved him down in the rotation when tied or up a goal.

Another interesting aspect to look at is how Trotz deployed DeAngelo. With a skill set like his, you’d expect him to get heavy offensive zone starts. However he was more balanced, if leaning slightly towards offensive zone starts. It’s clear Trotz didn’t lean on DeAngelo for his defensive play.

All in all, we have a purely offensive player who should hopefully improve in the defensive zone. It’s safe to assume DeAngelo will get heavy offensive zone starts with AV at even strength, and likely no penalty killing time. What I am intrigued by is how much powerplay time he will get. I’d venture a guess he gets PP2 time as well. Expect some growing pains as well. DeAngelo is more a work in progress than a stud in the making.

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  • The kid is an unknown but I assume that the Rangers really did their due diligence on DeAngelo and determined that he is what they need.

    The Rangers’ biggest issue was coming out of their own zone, as at least half the D corps was awful at it, disrupting the flow of the rest of the team. Hopefully the offseason acquisitions will solve that problem and make the Ranger forwards better overall.

    I am excited about DeAngelo. It appears like he has the tools to be a very good offensive D man.

    • I’d dare say that Jeff Gorton does not know anymore than you do. He got DeAngelo for the same reason you and Dave would have based on the same information. Players like Zherdev, Etem, Pouliot, Pirri, DeAngelo are appealing because the talent and hockey ability is clear – just another step or two is needed. But whether or not success will really happen depends on personal traits that simply can’t be read from afar (and often not even from close).

      I don’t know how fair my list is – just some names that came to mind. Examples like Pouliot indicate that these dreams are not just fairy tales and maybe others can find numerous other examples. But even Pouliot did not really sustain his success when he left NYR.

      • Funny that you say this Raymond, because I was having a discussion on Blueshirt Banter about Alexi Kovalev. IMO, he’s one of the most talented players I have ever seen, but his hockey IQ is, let’s say, comes up a little short. Otherwise he would be an all-time great.

        Yes, talent alone is not enough. BUT, my gut feel is that the Rangers will get the most out of DeAngelo and he will flourish here on a much better team.

    • I hope he can get it together just enough on the defensive end. I do not expect him to be a stalwart by any means, and there will be some ugly moments. That said, we’ve been routinely seeing ugly moments from our “lock down” defenders with almost no offensive/possession upside in recent years too, so it may not be much worse than a wash, in that regard.

      AV’s system, in theory, should see big possession boosts from a style like DeAngelo’s. I don’t see it as a coincidence that Clendening produced awesome possession stats during his limited chances.

      • Agreed, just be “ok” int he D zone and a monster in the O zone. If he has the puck then the other team doesn’t. That’s what we hope for anyway.

  • As a RHD, I wonder if he sees PP2 time with Brady. Seems to me they would make a good pair, although I know nothing about his shot from the point.

    I think he needs a solid defensive partner, and if it is Staal, we just have to keep our fingers crossed. He does bring an element we need. I still think another deal is coming, but Gorton wants to see where the Mika contract ends up first. What are we doing with Holden?

    • Holden will be part of a trade package after training camp shakes out. If Anderson makes the team, Holden gone for draft pick. If not, he gets packaged up for a center

  • there was a reason we traded Stepan to Arizona to get younger on defense that what De Angelo would bring and he will make the forwards better

  • Not to be a horses butt, Barry Trotz coached the Caps, not the Yotes!

    The kid can carry the puck out of the d-zone, isn’t that what our Achilles heel was last season? This season we will have three d-men who can lug the puck out, Shatty, Skjei, and Tony, what more can we ask for? As a third pair guy, partnered with a more defensively sound guy, and protected time, he should be OK to say the least. He has to work on his defensive play, and that can be taught more easily than offense, so this kid could be a gem in the raw. Time will tell there!!!

    As for his off ice issues, come on this is a 21 year old kid who let his mouth overload his ass, he will learn quickly. It’s not like he’s another Evander Kane, and all the luggage he carries. The odds are he has been spoken to already, and the team has been doing a good PR job in rehabbing his image already!!!!!!!!! Just look at the videos of him with the kids………..

    • Agree with you Walt and will also point out Ryan Getzlaf was fined $10,000 this season for making an in appropriate comment to a ref I believe. He’s still a solid player and Captain of the Ducks. People make stupid mistakes. Need to let the kid mature a bit. I like that he called Esposito to ask if it was ok to wear #77. Small but positive sign. He needs a realistic shot at that #6 spot on the D. And we need to ship Holden out so the coach is not tempted to do otherwise.

    • “As for his off ice issues, come on this is a 21 year old kid who let his mouth overload his ass, he will learn quickly. It’s not like he’s another Evander Kane, and all the luggage he carries. The odds are he has been spoken to already, and the team has been doing a good PR job in rehabbing his image already!!!!!!!!! Just look at the videos of him with the kids………..”

      “out Ryan Getzlaf was fined $10,000 this season for making an in appropriate comment to a ref I believe”

      Let’s be honest here. Again:

      He didn’t make a “stupid comment” to a ref, he’s physically abused a referee, not once but TWICE. I’ve said stupid shit to people before too, stuff I’ve regretted. I’ve never put my hands on another person, much less a person of authority. That is a complete whole other level. So yes, physical abuse of an official is on the same level as Evander Kane.

      As far as being “spoken to”. The light bulb suddenly went off when he was traded to the Rangers? That light bulb didn’t go off when he hurled slurs to opponents, it didn’t go off when he hurled insults to his TEAMMATES, it didn’t go off after he put hands on an official the first time, nor the second time. What indications does anyone have that talking to him is going to work, when its obliviously failed to work prior to this.

    • I’d add McDonagh to that list of defensemen who can skate the puck out. Mac has had some brilliant solo rushes down the ice in his career.

  • Thanks, Dave….. been waiting on some DeAngelo analysis. Very intrigued to see how he and Andersen develop over the next few years. No risk, no reward.

    • My gut feeling: future stud.

      Sean Day waiting in the wings too. It’s great that he will play in the Worlds this year. Great experience.

    • They’ll instantly be impact players on this team but I would assume that they would get the reduced roles on the team. Andersson could handle the 4th with quality 4th liners like with Fast and Grabner and with a nice role like that it could end up being good depth. Give the kid a pk role, he’s suppose to be a real solid 2 way player. DeAngelo should see 3rd pair minutes and 2nd PP time.

  • Excellent timing on this Dave… I hope this youngster can be developed into a real sweet D man!

    I am hopeful… and hopes not a bad thing. maybe the best thing.

  • The kid has a load of offensive talents. From what I have seen of him with Arizona, he is more than capable of driving the play up the ice. He is more or less a rookie still so he is going to make some beginner’s mistakes no doubt. However, on the third pair with an experienced player he can learn and grow. The defense skills can be taught and old Lindy Ruff surely will be holding class. I like this acquisition.

    Losing Stepan left a hole, but if DeAngelo and Andersson turn out to be as good as I believe they can be down the road, then the Rangers will have gotten good value in return.

  • We need to clear some space on d (Holden & Staal) if any of the young d will get any chance of making the team DeAngelo or anyone else

  • I am 100% against racial and homophobic slurs. This kid needs to stop that stuff immediately.
    But what I’d like to see him bring is some attitude, which he apparently has, to this very vanilla team

    • I agree 100% with you Jerry, but anyone, please raise your hand if you never, ever said a bad word or called someone a nasty name.

  • Dude’s 21, already on his third team. Has a bad reputation. Has physically abused refs multiple times. Can’t say I expect much.

    • 43

      May I ask a question, did you ever make stupid mistakes growing up??????? I’ll wait to see how he develops, and if he is a dud, I’ll be one of the first to call for dumping him!!!!!!!! Until then, I want to give him the benefit of doubt!!!!!!

    • I agree that the physical abuse of refs, and the slurs, that he has committed in the past, need to stop. No place for that crap. With that said, these aren’t necessarily the types of things that lead to major concern about a player’s ability to stick in the league. I am in no way defending his actions when I say this, but, these types of temper/heat of the moment type transgressions aren’t nearly as severe in terms of potentially derailing his career as the type of player who has a penchant for getting in trouble off the ice.

      • Severity is a personal judgement, some see it differently. As Ranger fans, we don’t want a D-bag on our team. It’s not cool, but people do change. Let’s hope the young man grows up and learns. I’m going to give him a chance. Walt is right!

  • Excellent article, Dave! As you may or may not know, I am not a stats guy, but I followed this well, thanks to your execution. I have no problem with this, nothing wrong with an offensive defenseman, when used correctly. Something I think AV will do. Variety and deployment is what wins cups! Deployment without assets does not.

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