According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post: “the Rangers won’t be signing impending restricted free agent Tony DeAngelo to a multi-year contract”. He adds, “… instead are seeking to trade the 24-year-old righty defenseman.”
Considering DeAngelo is offensively talented right-shot d-man who scored 53 points in 68 games this past season, that’s quite the interesting bit of news.
Brooks believes the Rangers could attempt to trade Tony DeAngelo because they have a great interest and investment in promising prospect Nils Lundkvist. Also, there is hesitation to give DeAngelo a deal longer than one year because the organization doesn’t want to lose Lundkvist to unrestricted free agency in 2022 without the 20-year-old rearguard having played a game for the club.
Teams hold exclusive rights to European-born draft picks through the fourth June 1 following their selection, per the CBA. Lundkvist was selected 28th overall in 2018 with the first-rounder obtained from Tampa Bay in the package for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. So, the Rangers hold his rights through June 1, 2022.
This is key, because if the Rangers sign DeAngelo to a long-term extension it tells Lundkvist that he’s not got much of a chance to crack the lineup on the right side where the team will have Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox and DeAngelo all taking the key spots on the roster.
Another reason the Rangers are placing a priority of Lundkvist actually has little do with Lundvist but the rest of the roster and how the salary cap will factor into shaping it. Brooks writes, “The Rangers are going to need a steady flow of impact players on entry-level contracts over the next few years.” He mentions Lundvist as one of those players. That’s because the team is so top heavy with pricey contracts at the top of the roster, they need to balance things out.
DeAngelo Just Doesn’t Fit
With the way the Rangers are made up, DeAngelo could potentially become a third-pair defenseman making between $5.5-to-$6 million per season (this according to Evolving Hockey‘s contract projections, That’s far too much money to give in a flat salary cap NHL.
And, considering the value that will be placed on right-shooting offensive defensemen in the trade market, the Rangers should do quite well if they choose to move him.
Replacing DeAngelo shouldn’t be that hard either. Players like Radko Gudas and Justin Schultz might make sense on the Rangers third-pairing and Schultz might be name to watch since the Rangers just hired Jacques Martin, and the two have history with the Penguins organization.
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