David Quinn was hired to develop the youth of this team and elevate their game. We’ve seen what he’s done with Pavel Buchnevich, as he is now playing and producing to expectations. Filip Chytil is starting to show more consistency in his game as well. However when it comes to the Quinn effect, the biggest impact thus far has been on Tony DeAngelo.
DeAngelo, when acquired, looked like a throw-in for the 7th overall pick in the Derek Stepan trade. The Rangers being his third team before the age of 21, it looked to be DeAngelo’s last chance. His on-ice issues with slurs against teammates, opponents, and refs were well documented, and it appeared that these issues would prevent him from reaching his first round potential.
The start of the year wasn’t any better for DeAngelo, as he was bounced between third pairing and the press box, and there appeared to be no end in sight. Then he hit a patch of solid play late in 2018, only to be benched again for issues that he and Quinn handled on their own (no details were given, it’s not worth speculating). Once back into the lineup, DeAngelo has been a kid on fire, showing exactly why he was taken in the first round. He now has a line of 4-21-25 in 48 games, with 11 of those assists coming in the past 12 games (13 in the past 16 games). Offensively, he has taken off and has earned his 20 minutes of ice time per game, up from 12-16.
Tony Deangelo is THE BEST defenceman in the NHL in transition offense. He is just 23 and seems to have figured things out a bit this year. It will be really interesting to see if he continues to improve as the non-innate aspects of his game fill in. https://t.co/Bv3mg5cTJF
— CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil) March 7, 2019
The above tweet is no hyperbole. DeAngelo is the single best defenseman in the league at carrying/passing the puck out of the defensive zone, through the neutral zone, and into the offensive zone. The kid’s talent was never in doubt, just his commitment and attitude. Suffice it to say, Quinn got through to him and the Rangers are reaping the rewards.
GAR on the upswing (source: @EvolvingHockey)
— CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil) March 7, 2019
He’s also trending up in overall contributions on the ice, and is now 15th in the league (among defensemen) in 5v5 points/60. All this while barely playing as much as the other guys on the list.As CJ said, if he continues to figure out the rest of his game, he could be lethal on the ice.
DeAngelo isn’t perfect. He’s among the worst defensemen in the league at defending the blue line for zone entries, which is a big aspect of a defenseman’s game. His in-zone coverage is certainly not amazing, but we’ve seen him mauling guys in front, something the Rangers haven’t had in a while. He’s not the best in his own zone, yet, but the positives on the ice far outweigh the negatives.
Considering the number of teams and coaches that gave up on DeAngelo, a significant amount of credit needs to go to DQ for how DeAngelo has turned it around. The Rangers play better when he is in the lineup.
Rangers with DeAngelo: 24-15-8
Rangers without DeAngelo: 3-13-3
DeAngelo with 24 points in those 47 games, almost 0.5 PPG
— Stat Boy???????? (@StatBoy_Steven) March 7, 2019
The Blueshirts also win more when DeAngelo is in the lineup. Usually I don’t like to leverage records with/without a player in the lineup because there are so many other variables in hockey, but this stat coincides with Rob’s post yesterday about how hockey is a linkage sport. When your better players play more, your team performs better. DeAngelo is one of the best defensemen on the team right now, and when he plays more, the Rangers perform better, thus win more.
This is exactly what David Quinn was brought in to do. His job was to take the pure talent that the Rangers have and mold it into consistent effort on the ice. That in turn leads to consistent production. There’s a reason why DeAngelo was taken in the first round, just as there are reasons why he was traded twice before his 21st birthday. It seems that DQ has finally made DeAngelo realize what he could be if he cut the proverbial crap. We can look at Buchnevich, Chytil, and possibly Lias Andersson as other success stories in DQ’s first year, but the work with DeAngelo is by far his greatest achievement.