Anthony DeAngelo
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The signing of Neal Pionk by the Winnipeg Jets adversely affects the contract situation of New York Rangers defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

Frank Curto

The days are getting longer and longer for Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers. The current salary-cap incompliance status ensures this to be the case.

Recently, defenseman Anthony DeAngelo has been pushed to the forefront of the salary cap issues.


The latest bump in the road came this past weekend when the Winnipeg Jets announced that they had signed defenseman Neal Pionk to a two-year, $6 million contract.

The 23-year-old was acquired from the Rangers in the Jacob Trouba trade in June. The Rangers announced that they signed Trouba to a seven-year, $56 million contract on Friday.

The problem isn’t with either of these signings, rather with the team’s remaining unsigned players, mainly DeAngelo.

DeAngelo, 23, has been with New York since a trade with Arizona in June 2017. During that period of time, the defenseman has had problems with his consistency, which led to some time playing for the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL.

In the 2018-19 season, he appeared in 61 games, recording four goals and 30 points. He began to play with more confidence towards the end of the season when David Quinn started to reward him with power-play time as well as more overall ice time. Of his 26 assists on the season, 10 of them were registered when the Blueshirts had the man advantage.

Currently, DeAngelo is a restricted free agent. The team has not really addressed the contract situation (Brendan Lemieux to is an RFA), but the Pionk signing has now moved the issue to the top of the list. The question of the value of the young defenseman needs to be looked at.

Since he is not arbitration-eligible, he has no real leverage in negotiations.

He will probably be looking for at least a two-year contract, and with the team’s decision to trade Pionk to Winnipeg, DeAngelo seems to be a player the team wants to keep long term; but at what price?

What he and the Rangers lack is the time to hatch out a new deal. The team is currently not salary cap compliant and must make some sort of trade or buyout before the Pavel Buchnevich arbitration hearing on July 29. The question of DeAngelo’s worth might turn out to be a “what kind of trade return can they get for the defenseman” scenario.

It is well known the team has a log jam on the Blueline. The most beneficial way to move any player right now is to receive as little salary back as possible. It is hard to imagine trading your player like DeAngelo for a multiple draft picks, yet that is the situation the team is in with the recent signings of Trouba Artemi Panarin.

The best opportunity to fix the cap problems would be for the team to package DeAngelo, along with Pavel Buchnevich or Chris Kreider, for something suitable in return. Finding partners for this to happen is a hard thing to accomplish, but there are suitable partners.

Ottawa, Columbus, Winnipeg and Colorado are teams that have over $15 million in cap space available and players the Rangers would be interested in trading for.

The Rangers have good relationships and prior dealings with Ottawa and Winnipeg, but are these teams interested in what Gorton has to offer?

Congrats to Neal Pionk on securing a fine contract.

It is amazing how a player the team just traded a month ago seems to be already causing the Rangers problem and they haven’t even played against him this season.

Such is the life of being a fan of the team on Broadway.

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