New York Rangers defenseman Anthony DeAngelo has become a valued defenseman on a team stacked with NHL-caliber blueliners. Can his skill and determination keep him in the top six?
The 23-year-old had a tough time staying in the lineup early in the season, which resulted in him watching games more often than playing in them. However, he has played more often recently, becoming one of the young players David Quinn can rely on in various situations.
A native of Sewell, New Jersey, DeAngelo has improved his all-around game following his time in the AHL last season with the Hartford Wolf Pack. DeAngelo has appeared in 15 of the team’s 24 games played this year, recording two goals and eight points.
The defenseman’s ice time has increased recently, and he’s up to 19:11 minutes per game this season.
When the Rangers acquired DeAngelo from Arizona, along with the Coyotes 2017 first round pick, for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, the defenseman brought along a reputation as a power-play specialist. It took some time for that to actually evolve, with the likes of Brady Skjei, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Neal Pionk ahead of him on the power-play unit.
Added to that dilemma is a new head coach who prefers to go with a forward and a defenseman when the team is on a power play.
That situation has limited DeAngelo’s opportunities. But he has a scoring touch that needs to be exploited a little more, as he does have a knack for scoring clutch goals.
The Physical Factor
DeAngelo is known for his physicality. The defenseman has been strong on the puck in the corners, fast to get the puck out along the boards. He also seems to get motivated by standing up for his teammates.
That aspect of DeAngelo’s game is a huge factor for the Rangers, as Cody McLeod, a strong-skating, hard-hitting, take-no-crap kind of player, will be out of action for the next four to six weeks with a fractured hand.
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DeAngelo seemed to find this new element in his game when the Rangers sent him down to the Wolf Pack last year. Time in Hartford helped the defenseman discover his aggressive side, and it has stood out since the team recalled him at the end of last season.
Despite standing only 5-foot-11 and weighing just 180 pounds, DeAngelo stands up to the biggest players the NHL has to offer. However, he only has 15 penalty minutes on the season so far, so skating skill is still his best asset.
DeAngelo has to find a way to stand out from the other blueliners, as head coach David Quinn has kept eight defensemen with the club.
There are going to be nights when a player is a healthy scratch just because there is nowhere to play him on that particular evening. Sometimes that’s the hand DeAngelo has been dealt, but he has taken advantage of all the opportunities thrown to him this year.
The team’s play has been surprisingly promising in the first quarter of the season. Over the same period of time, Anthony DeAngelo has given a consistent and strong effort.
Effort is a word that is mentioned a lot in connection with the New York Rangers. No one can question DeAngelo’s effort and heart, as he is slowly becoming a fan favorite in New York.
DeAngelo intends to make David Quinn’s decision on who to sit a very tough one each and every game night.