The signing of Tony DeAngelo will always come with some controversy. When the Carolina Hurricanes brought him to the franchise in 2021, it was questioned. Mostly the off-ice issues have been the concern with this player but he was under control for the lone season in Raleigh. Bringing him back brought an even bigger uproar this off-season. The skill on the ice is strong but the role on the team is still in question.
In many other sports, a specialist can come in and out of games as they please, for example, a kicker & punter in football but hockey is different as players must be able to contribute in all areas of the ice and the match. Rod Brind'Amour may have found a way to have a specialist mostly handle his specialty.
Unfortunately, Andrei Svechnikov is out and will be out shortly. The Canes have depth at all positions but playing 7 defensemen is unordinary, leaving less than four forward lines. It has been done in the past but not for long-term. The Canes may benefit from doing this while Svechnikov is out.
The New Jersey native has his strong points and the majority of them reside on the offensive side of the puck. He can quarterback a power play with slick passing and smooth skating. An above-average shot makes DeAngelo a force from the point. Defensively, much can be desired.
The typical fourth-line player's minutes per game can average around 10 but naturally, the defensemen play bigger minutes per game due to only having six players. Having the seventh defenseman can give the defensemen a breather while controlling the special teams. DeAngelo is a power-play specialist and could seemingly play every power-play in a given game.
This brings us to the game on Tuesday where without Svechnikov, Brind'Amour brought the former first-round pick back into the lineup. In his first game in almost a month, DeAngelo played just 9:35. I am sure this is not the ideal situation for both the player and team but it might just work for the near future.
Naturally, the DeAngelo supporters would first point out the fact that their guy got an assist on the power play in such little time played. My question would be if you are a DeAngelo supporter, do you want him playing 7th defenseman type minutes every game?
The Senators committed 6 penalties Tuesday, which allowed the majority of the 9:35 played by the former Rangers defenseman just clean-up duty and power-play time. A good coach will put his players in the best situations to succeed. That would be the man advantage for DeAngelo. The only problem would be a game with few penalties.
Rather than playing a depth winger for minimal time and impact in a game, DeAngelo has a better chance of contributing a goal on the power play. It makes sense for the team as goals are crucial, especially on the power play. It may keep DeAngelo happy being involved but I do not see that lasting long. The return of Svechnikov should be the end of that and hopefully, DeAngelo has done enough to add attract another team to trade for him.
The bottom line is if this can result in more goals and more Canes victories, that is all that matters.