This was written before DeAngelo signed his deal. Most of it still applies.
Even before Tony DeAngelo’s holdout began, there were questions about his long term future in New York. Before the offseason, DeAngelo was clearly the best RD on the Rangers and looked to be on the verge of cementing his role in the lineup. Then the Rangers traded for both Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba.
The trade for both pushes DeAngelo down to what will likely be the 3RD spot. It also likely pushes him out of the PP1 role, and possibly out of the powerplay all together. Now a lot of that has to do with how Fox plays, but there are clear signs that the Rangers’ brass likes Fox’s game over DeAnglo’s.
But DeAngelo’s future obviously extends beyond this season. The Blueshirts have great prospects in both K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist expected to make the roster in the not so distant future. Lundkvist plays the right side, making that a crowded blue line. It’s certainly a good problem to have, but maybe not one that DeAngelo is too keen on.
For DeAngelo, this might be his only chance to really cash in on a contract. His one-year qualifying offer at around $900,000 isn’t really his definition of cashing it in. He played very well last year once he got ice time, and he wants the money. The thing is, the Rangers are his third club by the age of 23, he has questionable antics both on and off the ice, and it’s only 61 games of solid, consistent play. All of that comes to light in negotiations.
Add in where the Rangers stand in terms of their prospects, and they may not want to take a risk on DeAngelo. Heck, it may not even be about a risk. It may just be a numbers game. They may not want to be locked into another multi-year deal when all signs are pointing to there being no room for him on the roster as soon as next season (and admittedly as last as 2-3 years from now).
Neither side has a reason to budge from their contract stance, and this could bleed into a longer stalemate than both sides may like. It’s been a while since the Rangers had a true holdout (Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal). In case you were wondering why Joe Morrow was brought to camp, this would be why.
All this, of course, doesn’t matter if Fox doesn’t pan out. Perhaps this has nothing to do with DeAngelo at all. Perhaps this is all about Fox.