The defenseman cleared waivers, has played his last game in a Rangers sweater.
On Sunday afternoon, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet and NHL Network tweeted that DeAngelo had been placed on waivers.
DeAngelo (NYR) on waivers
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 31, 2021
This unleashed a whirlwind of stories that were supposed to provide context. DeAngelo re-signed this past offseason, inking a two-year deal with a $4.8 AAV.
What could have possibly happened over the span of four months and eight games that led to such a consequential decision?
The answer: a lot.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident that occurred after Saturday’s loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There was some miscommunication between DeAngelo and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev in overtime behind the Rangers net that resulted in a turnover and a Pittsburgh goal to win the game.
THE WIZARD OF CROS!
Sidney Crosby scores in overtime and P.O Joseph gets his THIRD primary assist of the night. pic.twitter.com/1X6WVgb1j3
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 31, 2021
The Athletic and New York Post reported that DeAngelo and Georgiev were involved in a postgame scuffle in the tunnel.
Gorton said DeAngelo has played his last game as a Ranger; the club is now attempting to deal him.
Shortly before Gorton and Davidson spoke to the media, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that DeAngelo’s agent, Pat Brisson, mentioned he and Gorton are in the process of talking to clubs that are interested in potentially acquiring the defenseman.
Spoke with DeAngelo’s agent, Pat Brisson. He says he and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton are talking with clubs with trade interest in DeAngelo. Brisson is confident they will get something done in the near future. In the meantime, DeAngelo will remain at home awaiting a deal.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 1, 2021
History of Issues
DeAngelo has been a headache since before he joined the Rangers. While with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, DeAngelo was suspended twice for violating the league’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy, and once again for abuse of officials.
Sources in the OHL have noted that his behavior off the ice was difficult to deal with and coaching him was hard, especially when his team was struggling to come up with wins.
DeAngelo’s behavioral issues would follow him to the NHL. He was scratched frequently while with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that drafted him, and ended up being traded to the Arizona Coyotes. In 2017, he was fined and suspended for abuse of officials.
In 2018, the Rangers took a risk by trading for DeAngelo. They had just hired David Quinn as their new head coach.
The Rangers were entering a rebuild and were in the process of becoming a much younger team, so they wanted a coach who had experience with young players, and Quinn met the requirements.
They clearly believed Quinn would be able to keep DeAngelo in check and it did work, to an extent.
DeAngelo played the best hockey of his career as a member of the Rangers and had a breakout season in 2019-20, when he was the fourth-highest scoring defenseman in the NHL.
His defense was a liability, but he was scoring enough to make up for it, at least in the eyes of the organization.
Season of Disappointment
Off the ice, DeAngelo continued to be problematic and his behavior grew worse during the 2020 offseason.
On Twitter, he threatened to fight a fan, supported former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that he had lost the election, and undermined the significance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most recently, DeAngelo announced that he’d be leaving Twitter to join social media app Parler.
This came after Trump’s Twitter account was suspended when the former president incited violence after the incidents that occurred at the United States Capitol.
In the Rangers’ 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders on opening night, DeAngelo took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and was subsequently benched for two games.
According to Gorton, DeAngelo didn’t take this well and “wasn’t able to move on from” it.
Gorton mentioned that he had spoken to DeAngelo about his behavior after the Islanders’ loss and warned him that the organization would place him on waivers if they heard his name brought up regarding any drama.
On Sunday, Gorton followed through on that promise.
DeAngelo has been nothing short of irresponsible throughout his career, and it’s in the best interest of the team to move on from him. It’s something they should’ve done a while ago.
It can be argued that the Rangers shouldn’t have accepted him in a trade offer to begin with. But it has become easier to place blame on the organization over time because they kept bringing him back.
When he was re-signed in October, DeAngelo had already been acting out on social media. His behavior was giving the organization a headache, but they went and gave him a two-year deal, anyway.
Despite an abysmal performance in the bubble that could have cost DeAngelo any leverage in negotiating for a new deal, the Rangers offered him the chance of his life.
He blew it.
He was one of the team’s worst players to begin the 2021 season and the drama that he was causing just wasn’t worth it anymore.
Davidson noted in the press conference that DeAngelo’s social media activity had nothing to do with the organization deciding to move on from him.
Those who aren’t buying it and believe that this was a snowball that was just getting bigger and bigger do have a point.
If DeAngelo was so well-liked by his teammates, whom he’s no longer permitted to be around at all, and his extracurriculars didn’t matter to the organization, why would the Rangers make a move that would cause a PR fiasco and would hurt them financially?
There’s a chance we may never know exactly what happened and what led to this decision. What we do know is that the Rangers put themselves in this position.
This is an Original Six team that prides itself in being as classy as possible and representing the city of New York with pride and dignity.
Some of the most respectable guys to grace the NHL have played for the Rangers, and it’s sad to see such an organization become entangled in a mess caused by someone who embodies the opposite of what the Rangers stand for.
The team is turning the page as they continue the rebuilding. They’re changing the culture, and this must begin with getting rid of guys who don’t fit the mold – such as DeAngelo.
Good bye, Tony. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.