Tony DeAngelo made the Rangers’ 2017-18 roster out of training camp, but he didn’t remain with the big club for long. Jeff Gorton sent DeAngelo down to Hartford in late October after it appeared that the young right-handed defenseman had failed to impress head coach Alain Vigneault. It was a dismaying start to what proved to be a roller coaster season for the prospect.
Before DeAngelo stepped on the ice at Rangers training camp he was already under a microscope because of his attachment to the trade that sent Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to Arizona. He also had some extra attention on him because of his behavior off-the-ice during his OHL career.
In DeAngelo’s first eight games with the Rangers — prior to being reassigned to the Wolf Pack on October 24 — he averaged 12:38 TOI/GP and picked up just one assist. It’s also worth noting that Steven Kampfer averaged 17:16 TOI in the two games when he filled in for DeAngelo in the first 10 games of season.
DeAngelo did little to inspire the confidence of the front office or the fan base in the early days of his reassignment. As a result of his lackluster play first-year Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge made him a healthy scratch.
Fortunately, DeAngelo started to find his game in late November and early December. The 19th pick of the 2014 Draft posted nine points in name games with the Wolf Pack from November 29 to December 22. DeAngelo’s numbers crashed after that when Hartford began to unravel in the first half of January.
Called up in January
When Kevin Shattenkirk was knocked out of the lineup with his knee injury Gorton (finally) summoned DeAngelo back to the Rangers. It was a tremendous opportunity for the 22-year-old to prove that he had what it took to be an everyday NHL defenseman.
From January 20 through March 12 — a 24-game span — DeAngelo led the Rangers’ blueliners in power play production with five assists. In that same span DeAngelo ranked first among Rangers’ defensemen in shots and third in points.
DeAngelo put up those numbers with an average total ice time of 17:52 and an average 5-on-5 ice time of 15:07. More importantly, he had the second-highest relative 5-on-5 possession numbers on the Rangers’ blue line (5.23 CF%) from January 20 through March 12. DeAngelo achieved that despite frequently being paired with Rob O’Gara. It’s worth noting that O’Gara had a 30.83 CF% without DeAngelo as his defensive partner.
As encouraging as those numbers are, DeAngelo still didn’t do much to win his coach’s confidence and move up the depth chart. He was guilty of some pretty bad turnovers and had a tendency to get lost on the third pair with O’Gara. DeAngelo was on the ice for more 5-on-5 goals (13) than any other Rangers’ D in the aforementioned 24 game span, but he was also on the ice for 25 goals against.
Unsurprisingly DeAngelo continued to chirp and get mixed up in things after the whistle in his second stint. Off the ice he was also involved in an ill-advised twitter exchange with some Rangers fans. We regret to inform you that we do not have any analytics for how many tweets DeAngelo has deleted.
Oh, and DeAngelo also dropped the gloves with Wayne Simmonds. The New Jersey-native clearly has plenty of swagger, but that is not always a good thing.
Unfortunately for DeAngelo his second audition with the Rangers came to an abrupt end when he crashed into the boards in a game against the Hurricanes on March 12. He wouldn’t return to the lineup for the rest of the regular season.
DeAngelo’s season-ending injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. It was a frustrating end to an altogether disappointing season for the young, crafty defenseman.
As encouraging as DeAngelo’s underlying numbers may have been, his first season with the Rangers was still very much a mixed bag. The biggest red flag of DeAngelo’s 2017-18 season was his inconsistent play in Hartford. With his talent and experience he should have dominated in the AHL. Instead, he played inconsistent, unimpressive hockey.
2018 Report Cards: Marc Staal / Mats Zuccarello / Ryan Spooner / Rob O’Gara / Jimmy Vesey / Brendan Smith / Vladislav Namestnikov / Brady Skjei / Steven Kampfer / Jesper Fast / Alexandar Georgiev / Pavel Buchnevich / Ondrej Pavelec / Kevin Hayes / Mika Zibanejad / Alain Vigneault / John Gilmour / Ryan McDonagh / Neal Pionk / Ryan Sproul / Kevin Shattenkirk / Chris Kreider / Jeff Gorton I / Jeff Gorton II