It was a wild weekend in the NHL and for Canes fans as a collective. First was the news that Jordan Staal re-signed with the Canes on a four-year deal. Then, Elliotte Friedman reported that Tony DeAngelo could be returning after spending one season in Philadelphia with a prospect going back to the Flyers. This news was met with a familiar tone from the fanbase.
The Hurricanes initially signed Tony DeAngelo during the 2021-22 offseason on a one-year, $1 million contract. The deal drew a fair amount of criticism given his history of suspensions, including two suspensions during his junior career in the Ontario Hockey League, one for physical abuse of an official while with the Arizona Coyotes, and a fight with former teammate Alexander Georgiev, which ended his stint as a New York Ranger.
During his one season with the Hurricanes, DeAngelo set franchise records with 41 assists and 51 points as a defenseman, though Brent Burns would break both records this past season. With DeAngelo becoming a restricted free agent at the end of the season, the Hurricanes traded him and a seventh-round pick to the Flyers for three draft picks, and he would sign a two-year, $10 million contract with Philadelphia.
DeAngelo’s numbers dipped a little this season, recording 42 points in 70 games. His relationship with head coach John Tortorella made headlines throughout the season, and he would be benched for the final five games in a move that DeAngelo called “ridiculous.”
With the trade announcement, the general feeling was that it would be completed by Sunday. However, Sunday came and went, and there was still no official announcement. Monday provided a little more clarity on the situation.
According to Pierre LeBrun, the league has stepped in with some concerns over the trade. As all deals are subject to league approval, this one hit a snag based on the current collective bargaining agreement. The Flyers were set to retain half of Tony DeAngelo’s $5 million cap hit. Since the trade to Philadelphia happened less than a year ago, the league felt that the two teams were circumventing the salary cap, though both teams are denying it, per LeBrun.
I want to make this very clear; it’s still possible that this deal will go through. It could just be a matter of when exactly that is. If the league doesn’t sign off on it now, they could wait until July 9 to meet the 12-month minimum requirement.
It’s also possible that this is enough to kill the potential trade. If that’s the case, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. When the initial news broke that a deal was in place, I was confused because the Canes already have a solid right side on defense with Burns, Brett Pesce, and Jalen Chatfield. Even with the concerns over Pesce’s contract status, things seem to be moving in the right direction, which makes a fourth right-handed defenseman overkill unless they plan on moving Chatfield to the left side.
There are always going to be continuing concerns over DeAngelo’s character. While his time in Carolina two seasons ago went without a hiccup, most fans aren’t so quick to forgive. I might not have felt as strongly about this deal as when they signed him in 2021, but I wouldn’t be upset if it fell apart. We shouldn’t have to worry about the possibility of an incident with one of our players, whether that be online, in the locker room, or in public.
If the deal goes through as initially expected, I won’t take to social media to cause a scene or call out the team. As they did when they originally signed him, the front office has done their homework and knows what Tony DeAngelo can bring to the team. If they feel strongly enough that he can help this team win, I choose to believe it’s possible. It won’t be without apprehension, but the team will have my support. Not everyone will agree with that, which is well within their right. I have faith in Don Waddell and the entire front office to build a winning team to compete for a Stanley Cup next season.