Anthony DeAngelo is a polarizing figure for Ranger fans. The key cog –in addition to the 7th overall pick– in the Derek Stepan trade, DeAngelo came to the Rangers with high upside, but has yet to put it together on the roster. He didn’t stick with the Yotes, playing in 39 games before being shipped to New York. Last year, he played 32 games with the big club, notching 8 assists.
DeAngelo, a former first round pick in 2014, is approaching his make or break season. At 22 years old, he either needs to show what he has, or be passed by other, probably less skilled, defensemen in the pipe. There’s no doubt the kid has skill, and perhaps new coach David Quinn can hone that skill into something tangible on the ice. But even then, there are going to be questions regarding DeAngelo.
The biggest questions, and why he’s so polarizing, is that he’s had his share of on and off ice issues. He had run-ins with officials and teammates a few years ago on multiple occasions. He had a poor attitude after being sent to Hartford just this past season before finally getting out of his own way. But perhaps the biggest issue, off the ice, is this:
@Eagles SUPER BOWL CHAMPS. THE TROPHY COMES TO THE BEST FOOTBALL CITY IN THE WORLD FINALLY. GO CRAZY PHILLY. WHAT A YEAR!!! ???? ????
— Tony DeAngelo (@TonyDee07) February 5, 2018
Can you really trust an Eagles fan?
All kidding aside, as a key cog in the Stepan trade, and with players like Neal Pionk and John Gilmour looking like they could compete for a true NHL spot, DeAngelo’s future is up in the air. With a new coach, it’s time to give him consistent playing time and some solid coaching to see what he can be.
DeAngelo is no longer waivers exempt, which all but assures –barring a monumental issue at camp– a roster spot next season. I’m going to pull out an old hockey cliche here, but pairing him with a respected veteran like Marc Staal on the third pair is probably the best bet for someone like him, as it gives him the defensive cushion to work his magic offensively. It may not be the most effective or even best stats pairing, but it’s about seeing what you have in the kid.
There’s still time to salvage the project that is DeAngelo, but now’s the time to see what he truly has at the NHL level. Whether you like him or not, his success is a big piece of the future blue line success of the Rangers.