In good news for the Carolina Hurricanes, offensive defenseman Tony DeAngelo is back on the ice at a limited practice. DeAngelo suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury during the Canes’ February 21st contest against the Philadelphia Flyers. During the game, Tony took a slapshot and skated off the ice in obvious discomfort, and hasn’t suited up since.
The controversial defenseman was signed as a free agent at the beginning of the 2021 free agency period for just $1 million. This was following a less than gracious exit from the New York Rangers following some social media and lockerroom drama. Tony was brought in primarily to replace the production of star free agent Dougie Hamilton who left the Hurricanes organization that same day.
Tony was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2014 draft. Just two years later he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes and made his debut for them in November of 2016. After scoring 14 points in just 39 games, he was traded alongside Arizona’s 2017 first-round pick for Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan, funny how that works out, huh?
After a pretty impressive first 3 seasons with the Rangers, including the 2019-20 campaign where he put up 53 points in 68 games, he was waived just 6 games into the 2021 season after a dispute with the Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev.
Tony has made the most of his opportunity in Carolina thus far. He has registered 9 goals and 31 assists and is 12th in scoring among all defensemen despite only being able to play in 43 games. Tony leads all Hurricanes defensemen in goals, assists, points, and plus-minus. He ranks 4th on the team in total points, 8th in goals, and 3rd in assists.
Needless to say, DeAngelo has been impressive in his first year with the club. Tony has played primarily alongside Canes alternate captain Jaccob Slavin on the top defensive pair and the two have made for a great duo on both ends of the ice. DeAngelo’s ability has been missed the most on the powerplay, which has begun to slow down in the 9 games he’s been out.
This is an interesting development in relation to how the Canes approach the NHL trade deadline. If Tony was out until the playoffs it is very likely the Hurricanes would have tried to acquire an offensive defenseman to supplement his production, but assuming he comes back for the stretch run that moves now becomes unnecessary. Another looming question is, who comes out of the lineup now?
Jalen Chatfield was reassigned to Chicago despite another impressive stint with the big club. It comes down to Ethan Bear and Brendan Smith, who revealed today that he is in fact medically cleared, for the final spot on the third defensive pair, unless the Hurricanes can acquire more defensive help on deadline day. It will be intriguing to see how this shakes out for the defensive core.
Tony will be a welcome addition to the team as they look ahead to a very tough next 10 games with matchups against Toronto, Tampa, Minnesota, and the Capitals twice on the horizon. Tony is an RFA at the conclusion of his 1-year, $1 million contract, this stretch run becomes an extra opportunity to showcase what he can do against top competition.
Question for Cardiac Cane readers: How do you think Tony DeAngelo will do upon his return to the lineup?