Tony DeAngelo finished 2018-19 with an impressive line that included 30 points in 61 games while being worth 9 goals above replacement according to Evolving-Hockey. The Rangers found themselves in a cap crunch, and DeAngelo was forced to settle on a one-year deal worth $925,000. After the buyout of Kevin Shattenkirk, the additions of Jacob Trouba, and Adam Fox, DeAngelo found himself in a position to prove himself even further to secure a more lucrative contract, and earn some long term security.
DeAngelo had a career year offensively with 15 goals, 38 assists, and 53 points in 68 games which ranked fourth-best in the NHL among defenders. He was productive on the power play, but also picked up 34 of his points at even-strength.
In terms of GAR metrics, DeAngelo was worth 9.2 goals, and 3.1 standings points per Evolving-Hockey. This was driven by an even strength offense of 10, a power play offense of 2.8, but brought down by an even-strength defense of -3.2, which was worse than the -2.5 he was worth the year prior.
Other numbers include:
56.80 GF% — 3rd among NYR D
47.99 CF% — 3rd among NYR D
48.14 xGF% — 3rd among NYR D
2.92 xGA/60 — 2nd worst among NYR D
The rub with DeAngelo is that you need to take the good with the bad because as good as he is offensively, he’s woefully inadequate defensively which is a problem for a team like the Rangers that operates on such a thin margin. If they were collectively stronger in their own zone, his defensive weakness could be better masked, and his offense would likely be even better than in this past season.
If the Rangers are going to keep DeAngelo, which isn’t a certainty especially with the flat salary cap, they will need to find him a consistent partner that can cover for his lapses in coverage. DeAngelo certainly brings value to the table, but with the emergence of Adam Fox, plus Trouba’s contract, it is right to question if he could be more valuable as an asset than he would be returning to the team.
This is not to say the Rangers should give DeAngelo away, but going to arbitration and getting a one-year award may not be the worst thing if he’s looking for too much money. At the very least, it buys them time to see how he builds on this season and better assess what the future of their blue line could look like. This was a career year, and with Fox and Trouba set to be with the team long term, and Nils Lundkvist waiting in the wings, the team wants to keep their options open. But the Rangers, according to Larry Brooks, need to keep in mind that the window to sign Lundkvist closes on June 2, 2022, so until he’s signed they may take it slow with Tony DeAngelo
Banter Consensus: A-
Tony DeAngelo is an immensely talented hockey player, and I said as much when he was still an unsigned restricted free agent.
The tough part when it comes to thinking about an extension is that any new contract will be “bad” the minute it is signed, because DeAngelo is coming off a season in which be brought tremendous value at $925,000. In order for him to live up to a contract of $6 million or more, he’d need to provide even more offense, say 60 points or more while driving play, or a better combination of offense and defense.
It goes without saying that Jacob Trouba, someone who had a poor first season, will need to elevate his play in 2020-21, although if he weren’t in the picture it certainly would make the DeAngelo season easier. But there’s no reason to believe Trouba will be moved before his NMC kicks in; however, I wouldn’t rule out a move down the line if the Rangers’ situation changes.
With that said, it is a really difficult situation with DeAngelo, because offensively he provides a lot of value. But the problem is the Rangers can’t afford to pay a premium for a No. 1 power play specialist and third-pairing even-strength defender if he slots behind both Trouba and Fox. While general manager Jeff Gorton added some cap space with the Marc Staal trade, they still need to rebuild the left side, and address the lack of meaningful long term center depth.
Going one more year may be the best outcome for both sides, because at that point there would be extra dollars off the cap coming off, and the Rangers would have a better idea of how far away they are from being a true contender.
The contract situation looms over any assessment of his 2019-20 season — even more-so with the current financial crunch teams are facing. However, it doesn’t take away from the strides DeAngelo took on the ice this season offensively as he showed his capabilities on a consistent basis after displaying glimpses since joining the Rangers.