To say that Tony DeAngelo’s hockey career has been controversial as of late would be a bit of an understatement.
Whether it was racist behaviour, social media posts claiming that the 2020 United States Presidential Election was rigged or openly denying the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeAngelo’s name has been in the news a lot lately.
However, things were taken to a new level on Sunday afternoon when the New York Rangers decided to put DeAngelo on waivers.
It was only back in October 2020 that DeAngelo signed a two-year, $9.6 million contract after he put up a career year in the 2019-20 season.
Experts and fans alike began to speculate if this move was done because of DeAngelo’s lacklustre defensive play as of late or if it was because of his controversial internet postings.
“This isn’t about one incident, it’s not about one thing,” said Rangers head coach David Quinn on Sunday, adding that the team will “see how it plays out” before making another decision.
The hockey world didn’t have to wait long after that to get an update on the situation.
It was revealed a few hours later that there was a post-game altercation between DeAngelo and his teammate Alexandar Georgiev, the Rangers’ goalie, following the team’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
DeAngelo and Georgiev, who were both on the ice when Sidney Crosby scored the overtime winner, got into an argument in the Rangers’ tunnel leading to their locker room.
The current belief is that DeAngelo started an argument with Georgiev about a miscommunication that led to the goal.
At some point in the conversation, the belief is that Rangers veteran Chris Kreider may have joined that argument and gotten physical with DeAngelo.
Ultimately, this entire altercation was the last straw for DeAngelo on the Rangers.
If DeAngelo clears waivers, there’s no telling what the Rangers will do. He would have had to of been placed on unconditional waivers if the club was going to immediately buy him out.
Whether any team decides to claim DeAngelo is anyone’s guess. While he’s put up points in the past, some teams may be wondering if his off-ice issues are even worth the talent. After all, it’s not like DeAngelo only recently started having off-ice issues.
When he played for the Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Hockey League, he was suspended twice: one game for abusing an official and eight games for using a slur towards a teammate.
That was back in 2014, so only time will tell if he’s willing to change.
The offensive potential is there, as DeAngelo had 53 points in 68 games in 2019-20 — the fourth-most by a defenseman that season.
However, DeAngelo only has one point in six games this NHL season, along with a -6 rating. He is also only being deployed in 23.7 percent of defensive zone starts, according to his advanced stats.