“Frustration” is a good word to describe Tony DeAngelo heading into the 2018-19 campaign, as it captures the attitude of fans, possibly the front office, and the player himself.
The frustration of fans stems from DeAngelo appearing in just 32 games and tallying eight points in 2017-18. The frustration of DeAngelo was due to his assignment in Hartford last year, and bad luck of succumbing to an injury toward the end of the season once Kevin Shattenkirk was shut down for good.
Looking back on this year’s campaign though, a good word to use is hope. The fans want to hope and believe that DeAngelo, a seemingly changed player after some tough love administered by bench boss David Quinn, can maintain the level of production he showed over 61 games. From the player perspective, DeAngelo himself is likely hoping he can have a prominent role with the team next season.
DeAngelo led Ranger defenders with 30 points in 61 games skating a total of 1178:58 in all situations. He scored just four goals on 111 shots and finished the season shooting 3.60%. He tallied 26 assists, of which 10 were primary. At 5v5, DeAngelo finished second in total points among defenders with 18, but team leader Brady Skjei logged 384 more minutes and only scored more point than DeAngelo.
From an underlying numbers perspective, DeAngelo had some mixed results among defenders who appeared regularly this season. Per Natural Stat Trick, DeAngelo finished the season with a CF% of 45.89 (fourth), a GF% of 54.35 (first), an xGF of 48.07 (third), and a SCF% of 46.57 (second).
Per Evolving-Hockey’s GAR, DeAngelo was far and away the Rangers’ most valuable blue liner with an overall GAR of 7.7 which is calculated by taking his EV GAR of 6.1, PP GAR of 1.2, SH GAR of 0.1, and Penalties GAR of 0.3. In terms of WAR (wins above replacement), DeAngelo finished with 1.4 which was 0.7 ahead of Skjei who finished second on defense. If you expand the pool to look at all Rangers skaters, DeAngelo was the third-most valuable in GAR and WAR, trailing Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider in both tables.
At times this season there often was a competition for ice time between Neal Pionk and DeAngelo. More often than not Pionk was the one getting more minutes. In total, Pionk logged 1163:21 at 5v5 in 73 games which is 175 more than DeAngelo’s 988:15 in 61 games. Both are viewed as offensive defenders, but it became more apparent this season that Pionk wasn’t playing well enough when he wasn’t scoring whereas DeAngelo could positively impact the shot share.
Here’s a look at the two defenders 5v5.
In this chart you can see that DeAngelo did a good job in the offensive categories, whereas Pionk was negative across the board. For some context on how this charted is calculated, check Evolving-Hockey’s glossary here.
This chart from HockeyViz highlights the Rangers being a better team overall offensively with DeAngelo on the ice than without. The redness around the net in terms of shots against isn’t great, but that’s something that wasn’t specific to just DeAngelo. It is something that hopefully will get better going forward with a steady partner, but the Rangers can afford to live with some of his defensive shortcomings due to what he generates offensively. I would imagine Quinn and company will be seeing how else they can press DeAngelo next season, and that’s something certainly worth following.
With all of that said, what grade does DeAngelo deserve?
Banter Consensus: B+
DeAngelo came into the season with pretty low expectations, and he performed pretty well given the way he was utilized. There were flare ups at times which resulted in DeAngelo ending up in the “Quinn bin,” but he generally responded well after his sit downs.
The goal for next season is for DeAngelo to be able to play his game without needing Quinn to sit him down for course correction, because his skill set sets him apart from pretty much every defender on the roster not named Shattenkirk. His continued development and success will be critical for the rebuild, and it adds intrigue to how the Rangers will handle his RFA status this summer interesting.
Will they give him a one year “show me” deal before investing long term, or will they opt for something a little longer to show they believe in him, and the impact he can bring to the team? Either way DeAngelo was one of Quinn’s biggest successes this year, and that’s something that will hopefully spill over into the 2019-20 campaign.