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Thinking Ahead: Re-signing DeAngelo

What could Tony DeAngelo’s next contract with the Rangers look like?

New York Islanders v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

One defenseman who made it to the other side of the trade deadline, despite numerous rumors, is Tony DeAngelo. While there was considerable talk of the New York Rangers perhaps trading him, DeAngelo himself said he was “pretty confident” he would not be traded, “I think it will all be good” (Lohud). However, in this upcoming offseason, DeAngelo will be a restricted free agent and is eligible for arbitration.

So what has DeAngelo done to prove himself worth what will be a big payday in his next contract?

Acquired from the Arizona Coyotes during the 2017 offseason, DeAngelo played for the Hartford Wolf Pack and played 61 games for the Rangers last season. He signed a one-year, $925,000 contract for this current season (CapFriendly). His performance has improved over the past year, having become a force on the blue line. Although he has struggled in his own zone, DeAngelo has been a key contributor to the Rangers’ offense.

In the 62 games he has played this season, DeAngelo has scored 13 goals — three of which are game-winners — and tallied 34 assists for 47 points.

During Thursday’s night game against the Montreal Canadiens, he recorded an assist when his wrist shot was redirected by Ryan Strome into the net. The third period goal was the fourth of the game, which lead to a 5-2 win for the Rangers, keeping their playoff aspirations very much alive.

While averaging almost 19 minutes on the ice this year, the 24 year-old has become one of the top-producing defensemen in the league, and stood sixth in scoring by defenseman at the start of play on Saturday. So far this season, he has logged 16 power play points, including three goals, with the remaining 31 points coming at even strength He has seemingly developed into a must-keep piece for this team because of the breakout season he is having.

With that said, what could his next contract look like?

After signing Chris Kreider for a seven-year, $45.5 million deal, with an annual salary cap that will hit $6.5 million, the Blueshirts traded Brady Skjei to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Skjei trade frees up a little cap space for the Rangers to play with in addition to a spot in the top-four on the blue line. Of course, Skjei and DeAngelo play different sides — left and right, respectively — but players with DeAngelo’s talent don’t grow on trees. Even with prospect Nils Lundkvist knocking at the door, there is a strong case to be made for extending DeAngelo.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Last summer, DeAngelo was unwilling to sign his qualifying offer from the Rangers. Unhappy, he held out for a week to negotiate, missing the beginning of training camp and eventually signing what is his current contract. Jeff Gorton was unable to offer him a bridge deal last year, Pavel Buchnevich having been the one to sign a two-year, $6.5 million deal (CapFriendly). As Tom Urtz Jr. stated in his story just a few days ago, if DeAngelo is offered a bridge deal the Rangers would want to keep it around $3.5 million, which could set up a scenario in which he tries to get a higher number through arbitration, in which he’d have a strong case.

Darnell Nurse recently signed a two-year deal with the Oilers with an AAV of $5.6 million. the Penguins locked-up Marcus Pettersson to a five-year extension with an AAV of $4,025,175 on Jan. 28. Before Pettersson signed with Pittsburgh, the Flames extended Rasmus Anderson to a six-year deal with an AAV of $4.55 million. And DeAngelo has been more productive than all of them.

I think the Rangers will offer him three years, with at least a $4 million AAV. If the Rangers opt for this type of deal, DeAngelo would be an unrestricted free agent when the deal ends. If he continues to advance defensively and post more points, which he will do, he will hold a lot of cards if negotiations sour and he goes to arbitration.

Jacob Trouba was awarded a one-year, $5.5 million contract by the Winnipeg Jets in 2018 when his negotiation went to arbitration, and he was not having the type of season DeAngelo is having this year. It would not be surprising if he asks for at least five years, with an AAV in the neighborhood of $6 million. In doing so, it would guarantee him as a piece of a playoff team in the near future following the rebuild. Moreover, when his contract expires he would be 31 years-old, like Mats Zuccarello was, putting him in a position to test the market and get another big payday.

Even though the Rangers have options with their prospects, they may regret not re-signing DeAngelo because of the positive direction he is presently moving in.

Gorton will have his work cut out for him on this one. Besides DeAngelo needing to be dealt with, there are over half a dozen players who need to be re-signed or moved. Additionally, should DeAngelo stay on Broadway, Gorton will also have to think ahead to the 2021-2022 season and the pending expansion draft.