The Hurricanes have made their first official confirmation of a free agent signing today, and it’s a controversial one. As first reported by Frank Seravalli yesterday, the team has signed former Rangers, Coyotes, and Lightning defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year deal worth $1 million.
“Tony is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in the team’s release. “We’ve done a lot of background work on this player and we are confident that he can be a positive addition to our group.”
DeAngelo was bought out by the Rangers following a tumultuous 2021 season in New York. The blueliner played just six games, and was waived and assigned to the taxi squad following a postgame physical altercation with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, with at-the-time GM Jeff Gorton saying he’d played his last game as a Ranger.
The incident with the Rangers was far from the first in DeAngelo’s hockey career, however.
He was suspended in the OHL for violating the league’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy resulting from a slur directed at a teammate.
On the ice, DeAngelo had just one assist and was a minus-6 in six games for the Rangers last season. He’s one year removed, however, from a strong 2019-20 that saw him post 15 goals and 53 points in 68 games, including three power-play goals and 19 power-play points. With Dougie Hamilton reportedly out the door, the Hurricanes will no doubt ask DeAngelo to play a role on their power play.
Obviously, the Canes’ hope is DeAngelo can return to that level of play and prove himself to be a bargain addition - while avoiding off-ice incidents.
However, reasonable questions will certainly arise in relation to this signing. Among them, is the on-ice upside of a player whose past includes a physical altercation with a teammate and the use of racial slurs during his junior career worth the potential collateral damage to the organization? Additionally, what kind of message does bringing in a player with DeAngelo’s history send to the community?
The full release from the Hurricanes follows:
‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH DEANGELO
Defenseman has tallied 106 points in 206 career NHL games
RALEIGH, NC – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Tony DeAngelo on a one-year, $1 million contract.
“Tony is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman,” said Waddell. “We’ve done a lot of background work on this player and we are confident that he can be a positive addition to our group.”
DeAngelo, 25, has posted 106 points (24g, 82a) in 206 career NHL games with the Rangers and Coyotes. The 5’11”, 180-pound blueliner registered career-highs in goals (15), assists (38), points (53), plus/minus (+12) and games played (68) during the shortened 2019-20 regular season. Among all NHL defensemen in 2019-20, DeAngelo ranked tied for fourth in goals and points. He represented the United States internationally at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Sewell, N.J., native was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, 19th overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft.
Canes Country will have much more on this signing.