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Tony DeAngelo Joins the Carolina Hurricanes After All, Signs 1-Year Deal With Club

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman, Tony DeAngelo has signed a 1-year deal worth $1.6 million with the Carolina Hurricanes earlier Monday.

The Flyers were previously engaged with the Hurricanes in trade talks regarding the disgruntled defenseman but the trade was eventually nixed by the NHL, who claimed that there was cap circumvention taking place with the teams having executed a deal less than 12 months prior.

Former general manager, Chuck Fletcher, had acquired the signing rights to the pending RFA on the second day of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft by shipping out a 2nd round pick in 2024, a 3rd round pick in 2023, and a 4th round pick in 2022 in exchange for the defenseman and a 7th round pick in 2022 – which was used on Alexis Gendron.

DeAngelo struggled in his first season with his boyhood team that eventually led him to being a healthy scratch in the final stretch of the season. He started out the 2022-23 campaign on the top pair with Ivan Provorov and did fairly well for an offensive defenseman as he led the team in minutes played and formed a rather interesting duo with Provorov – to start.

The Cinderella story ended rather abruptly as his play deteriorated, which forced John Tortorella to break up his top pair and start shuffling the back end. He found himself on the second pair for a bit before being stationed on the third pair with Nick Seeler – which actually worked out a lot better than expected.

Offensively, DeAngelo scored 11 goals and 42 points in 70 games, including 4 power play markers and an additional 15 assists with the man advantage. He averaged a career-high 22:04 TOI – 2:15 ATOI more than his previous best – but became a defensive liability which surprised his head coach a little bit.

“Last team he played for – Carolina – I think they could absorb some of that with their roster as far as maybe some of the deficiencies defensively. It kind of sticks out more with us. I think he’s one some great things for us here. It’s just…. we want to try to help him and we feel he needs to get better defensively without taking away any of that great offensive ability he has.

“We know what Tony is. I’m a little bit – not disappointed – but the defensive liability is something we need to work at. I didn’t think the amount of work that we need to do with him… I didn’t think that at the point in time that we got him. But it is what it is.”

The problem was never DeAngelo as a player, everyone outside of Chuck Fletcher understood the player that he was and the intangibles that he brings to a team and on the other side of the coin, the intangibles that he lacks. Offensive defensemen are always going to get crucified for their lack of defensive acumen, which is something we witnessed first hand with Shayne Gostisbehere. Had the Flyers possessed a strong corps of defensemen to shelter DeAngelo’s shortcomings and illuminate his strengths, he would still be around for the final year of his contract.

His renaissance season with the Hurricanes in 2021-22 was more about the system that the Hurricanes had in place as well as his teammates than anything else. Paired up with a criminally underrated defenseman in Jaccob Slavin, DeAngelo scored 10 goals and 51 points in just 64 games and was a +30 while averaging a then-career-high in ATOI at 19:49.

After the trade was announced, Fletcher stated that DeAngelo would essentially be the replacement for Ryan Ellis for the time being and that they actually prioritized this acquisition over everything else heading into the off-season. Many believed Johnny Gaudreau was the cherry on top of the cake for the 2022 off-season, however Fletcher admitted that finding Provorov’s partner was of utmost importance and they collectively decided that it would be DeAngelo – hence the inanely large trade package.

As the Flyers were discussing a trade with the St.Louis Blues revolving around Kevin Hayes and possibly Travis Sanheim, Daniel Brière was also on the phone with the Hurricanes looking to dump DeAngelo’s final year on them. It was widely believed that a deal was forthcoming, the Flyers would eat 50% of the remaining cap hit, and that they would be receiving a late pick or a low-end prospect in an attempt to off his contract.

After having their trade essentially vetoed by the NHL, the Flyers were told they had to wait until the 8th of July – 12 months after their initial trade – if they were still interested in making a deal. In that time, the Hurricanes shifted their focus towards the free agent waters as they acquired Dmitry Orlov (2×7.75 million), Michael Bunting (3×4.5), and resigning Jordan Staal, Antti Raanta, and Frederik Andersen. Then with the 8th of July nearing, the Hurricanes were looking at acquiring Erik Karlsson and his mammoth deal, which put the Flyers on hold.

Brière decided that losing a retained salary slot – already being down 1 with Kevin Hayes – and forking over half of his remaining $5 million wasn’t worth the wait, so they placed him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout which opened up after Noah Cates had filed for arbitration.

DeAngelo became the first player in NHL history to be bought out twice as the rebuilding Flyers continued this off-season of subtractions. John Tortorella and DeAngelo never saw eye to eye by the end of the season with the latter being upset and disgruntled by his decision to bench him for the final stretch of the season.

The Hurricanes got their man eventually and at a fairly cheap contract without losing a pick or a prospect. They never wanted to trade him in the first place but he had out-priced himself in Carolina, which forced Waddell to look elsewhere and that eventually brought Fletcher and company over.

Carolina now possesses DeAngelo, Orlov, Slavin, Brent Burns, Brady Skjei, Brett Pesce, Dylan Coghlan, and Jalen Chatfield on their back end heading into the 2023-24 season as they look for the answers to getting over their third-round-hump.

For the Flyers, it doesn’t look good when you buy out a player who was previously acquired for 3 draft picks but Fletcher made far too many mistakes with Briere and company having to do their best to clean things up.

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