Defense

Are the Rangers going to be forced to choose between Jacob Trouba or Tony DeAngelo?

The choice no one expected the Rangers to need to make

When the Rangers traded for Jacob Trouba and then signed him to a seven year, $8 million contract, he was anointed the 1RD spot. There were valid questions about Trouba’s ability to hold down that role, but the general consensus was that he would take time to get used to the Rangers, and then eventually hold down that spot and a spot on the powerplay, even with Adam Fox on board.

Tony DeAngelo, who was admittedly overlooked by many as a potential leading scorer on the blue line, has completely taken over the conversation. DeAngelo has looked great this season, and he’s found another gear to bring his game to another level. He and Fox are the clear 1-2 on the right side of the blue line, with Trouba, despite playing on the top pair, has moved into the afterthought category of blue liners.

With DeAngelo’s contract status up in the air, and likely to get at least $5 million thanks to the Darnell Nurse contract, the Rangers now have an interesting decision to make. Is Tony DeAngelo going to get a look as a potential 1RD, with Jacob Trouba getting moved before his NMC kicks in this summer?

This isn’t necessarily a new concept being discussed. I believe Adam Herman was the first to bring this up as early as December. This is about managing a team in a cap era, and spending big on depth is what gets teams into trouble. If spending $8 million on your 1RD, spending $5 million on your 3RD isn’t fiscally responsible, even if it is your leading point scorer. Factor in an Adam Fox contract extension in two years, and you have the same expensive blue line that saddled the Rangers in the AV years.

Of course there is an easy solution – move DeAngelo to the left side. As the club’s top offensive defenseman, staying on the left gives him a better angle and more room to work with. But it appears the Rangers aren’t willing to make that move, thus the decision they have in front of them. Assuming Fox is getting kept, the Rangers may need to make a choice between Trouba and DeAngelo.

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    • Took the words right out of my mouth.

      A couple of years ago (hell ..last year) our RD was one of our weakest positions. Now we have a trio of young skilled RD and that’s not even adding in Keane or Lunqvist in the mix.

      JG may have pulled the trigger on a couple questionable trades – Trouba included due to the size of the contract – but he certainly addressed a glaring weakness and I think this is a much better problem to face as opposed to what we faced a year or two ago.

      I think Trouba will be an asset in the coming years despite the contract. Id much rather move Skjei out and slide DeAngelo to LD if we have to part with a younger defender.

      The real issue(s)..and I hate beating a dead horse..are the Staal/Smith contracts. But we made our proverbial bed with those and may have to acquiesce and understand that we will have to part with someone we’d rather move forward with unfortunately.

  • It’s ironic. We have coveted Trouba for a few years now. We have also coveted a player like ADA for a while too. Now we have both. I realize Trouba’s NMC kicks in this summer so that would handcuff our ability to move him. And he also has not been as expected every night, but he brings a lot. Maybe the $8mill is too much based on what we have seen so far. But I am not sure we should be ready to move him. If we get an offer we can’t refuse, ok. But I am not sure what that offer would be.

    As for ADA. I am all in on signing him longer term. (4 to 5 years)Even if the cap hit is higher than the Nurse deal.( I think he will get more than Nurse on a 2 year deal, but we will see) ADA is a keeper. If I had a say. I would vote to trade Skjei and move ADA to the left side. He played there in the minors. And he would not have to play there until Keane or Lundkvist were truly ready.

    I think the bigger reality is, do they really try and move Hank? You do that and you can keep almost everyone else. Even if we retain some of his salary. I also think we could move Smith to a team that’s below the floor, in July, after his bonus. Furthermore, with Trouba at 25 and ADA at 24, they are in or entering their prime playing years. I would be very reluctant to move either one.

    • I agree with everything you’ve stated. Going to Hank and looking to move Skjei in the next two weeks should be top priorities. Maybe attaching a kid like Lias along with Smith can help get him moved also.

    • Management should definitely talk to Hank about removing his no trade clause in order to keep our two young stud goalies.
      Hank is a legend but it’s time to move on.

  • I believe that the article overstates the case. Neither Tony D. nor Fox are the same type of player that Trouba is. Trouba is a minutes monster and a physical presence. He is a big boy that checks with authority and carries the heavy load against the best lines. Taking nothing away from DeAngelo or Fox, they just do not do the same things as Trouba.

    Tony D. is guy who can skate and pass and has a deadly wrist shot, and who is a feisty kid who doesn’t back down from anyone. Fox is, especially for a rookie, calm and precise and who plays like a veteran most of the time. I think the Rangers need to find a way to pay DeAngelo and move him to the left side. He has played before and if you watch him on the attack he is comfortable operating from any spot on the ice.

    Keep all three because they are young and talented. Find the money by trading off other assets.

    • Agree almost completely. Trouba brings things the others do not. A cheaper option than Trouba might be wise, but ADA and Fox cannot play that role.

      I agre DeAngelo should be tried on the left – in fact, I would do it immediately. So far, the Lindgren-Staal pair has fared OK on the penalty kill with Staal on the right. Why not move him there at even strength? Go with Lindgren-Trouba, DeAngelo-Fox, Skjei-Staal and try to give your third pair 10-12 ES minutes a game. This also strengthens the defense by giving more ice time to the better players.

      In my lineup, there is no first pair and second pair, just a top defensive pair and top attacking pair.

    • Peter

      Agree 100%, and let’s face it Trouba has had issues with the transition of playing this new style, and with some sorry partners. The guy is a beast, and once he settles down with a partner he can trust, watch out, he is that good. I also believe Jake’s game improves when the forwards start committing to defense, and help out our d-men, when that happens consistently, there will be a vast improvement in everyone’s game. Let’s get a real defensive coach, and see what happens, it would be exciting!!!!!!

  • Trouba brings different skills to the back end. We should be able to keep them both, but I hate that we gave Trouba a NMC. I think you make all of the defensemen (except Fox) available and see who bites.

  • I am not sure I trade away a 26 year because he didn’t excel in his first season with this current team.

    I am not sure I bet the house on a guy who had 1 break out season, cough cough, Brady Skjei, again on ADA.

    I am sure if CK20 and or ADA bring back sweet returns, SELL EM.

    but the returns have to be the real deal, or else find a way baby!

  • Maybe the Rangers aren’t considering the move to left side at this time due to the left side being crowded. Joey Keane may be having a very good season in the AHL but his development may not be far along enough to force the Rangers to move Tony D to the left side and to displace Staal (or Lindgren or Skjei). The decision to move ADA to the left side may come next year if Lundkvist comes in and shows himself truly capable of holding down the 3rd RD.

    • Haven’t we seen Fox and ADA together when the Rangers need offense? I don’t get to watch many games but I swear I’ve seen it. Who’s been playing the left side when that happens?

      • No they have, I think Dave was referencing as a regular turn 5×5 —- you know, a permanent move to the left side.

  • “But it appears the Rangers aren’t willing to make that move…”

    That sentence from the last paragraph is most troubling. If the Rangers had any inkling of moving ADA to LD it would/should have been done by now. Finding out if DeAngelo can make this move, both mentally and physically, should be in motion. So now what’s the alternative? There’s too much talent on D in the pipeline in this rebuild and while I believe Gorton will clear cap space (nice knowing ya CK) I believe DeAngelo is signed then traded probably next season. I believe this because while I think they would like to get rid of Trouba and his contract there will be no takers at that cap hit.

  • I would not go by anything Adam Herman writes, he foresees himself as a know-it-all and if you argue a point he makes, he will never admit he is incorrect. IF you show him a blue colored pen, he will still say it is not blue because he did not say it.

    Just someone with a little experience with hockey and friends who work for the nHL, Herman’s articles get me because what is actually going on off the ice and his player evaluations is not accurate to say the least.

    I would be very surprised if Trouba is moved, anything is possible by would be surprised. Rangers want to get out of Hank’s contract and get tougher players on this roster by the start of next season…

      • Dave- I 99% would, However,I used to follow Adam on Twitter and a few years ago and when I would see some of his “non-Hockey topics” and his views on life- I seen how he correlate his attitude towards people who do not follow him or believe in the same views as he does, as always being completely wrong if your do not agree with him or think the same way rather than seeing things with two different point-of views in life. He acts the same way when you do not agree with him relating to hockey and the Rangers.

        I do not jive with people like this or respect when they have not contributed at all to the subject matter they feel is 100% right all the time. Regarding Hockey- to me, he has not played the game to back his opinions as he does, I could be wrong of course because I do not personally know him. I would give him credit and respect his articles if he was a rational writer and comm-enter. It is perfectly okay to agree to disagree but not what that guy. It is about time someone mentions this on a Rangers hockey blog about him.

  • Ridiculous to even think…as per Brooks the other day stating that the Rangers should consider listening to offers for Trouba….What are we fielding on D here ? A bunch of Mr. Softie vanilla shakes?????? No freaking way do I want Trouba moved…..

  • Well, if Rangers move Trouba, then Richter was 1000 percent correct….Leadership has no idea what they are doing…….Really ridiculous….

  • Trouba is not going anywhere. We did not trade for him to move him in less than a year. He is not failing, he is just playing a game that is less than expected from an offensive perspective. I think there is room for Trouba, AD, & Fox. Fill in the rest of the team with young defensemen. Move Staal (if possible) and Skjei.

    A bigger problem is Hank. He needs to be bought out as he is not retiring or moving. Still thinking they need to move CK & Strome. Get some top 6 young budding players. We need to win 8 out of the next 10 to be in a realistic playoff hunt. While I wish it would happen, I just do not think they have enough scoring depth.

  • 8 out 10….Basically what the Rangers need just to be close to a final spot…..Coming up: Jets, Wild, Jackets, and Bruins…4 games in 6 days…..Basically Rangers have to win no less than 3 of those games and maybe an OT loss…..6 out of 7 points….

  • “Are the Rangers going to be forced to choose between Jacob Trouba or Tony DeAngelo?”

    No, as I have said, get rid of Staal, Smith, Skjei, Fast, and Strome, and the Rangers can re-sign CK and ADA.

    Trading Trouba, even if it were the right thing to do, would send a very bad message to other players wanting to play here. Yes, I know, he was traded here, but Jacob forced the trade here. So, basically, it was like Trouba was a UFA and signed here.

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