Tony DeAngelo was sent to the Rangers practice session on Monday, the day after the team abandoned the high-priced defender who was on the ice when his team surrendered four goals in 5-4 extra time against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
The 25-year-old DeAngelo signed a two-year contract extension for $ 9.6 million in October after a season in which he scored 15 goals and scored 53 points in 68 games, both career highs. He had only one assist and a minus-six rating in six games that season for the Rangers, who improved to 3-4-2 after beating Pittsburgh on Monday.
According to several news reportsDeAngelo and goalkeeper Alexandar Georgiev had a physical confrontation after losing on Saturday night. Just before Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal, DeAngelo and Georgiev appeared to have miscommunication about handling the puck behind the Rangers’ net.
“We had an incident,” said Jeff Gorton, Rangers general manager. “It’s in our room, we’re dealing with it. This is one of the ways we deal with it. Our team is ready to move on. “
After DeAngelo approved the exemptions on Monday, the Rangers had the option to send him to their AHL partner in Hartford, Connecticut, reassign him to the Rangers practice session, or release him immediately.
DeAngelo’s assignment to the Hartford Wolf Pack would have deducted $ 1.075 million from his $ 4.8 million salary. The Rangers don’t have a chance to buy out the rest of DeAngelo’s contract until the summer.
Instead, the Rangers will make a trade.
“He played his last game for Rangers,” said Gorton. “I have no answer to what will happen in the future. He was assigned to our taxi squad. We’ll see if there’s another place he can play in a moment. “
Rangers manager Davd Quinn has benched DeAngelo twice in the past three seasons, most recently for two games after receiving a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for slamming the box door and the referees late in a loss to the islanders had yelled at.
Gorton said he spoke to DeAngelo after that game and indicated that if there were more problems, “the time will come when we will put you on waivers and move on.”
“I just felt this was going to be a distraction and we’re trying to stay true to our word here,” said Gorton.
DeAngelo has been involved in controversy on and off the ice during his career. DeAngelo has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus on social media. He took up his Twitter page in January and said he would join Parler, the app that some conservatives after Facebook and Twitter used began marking posts for misinformation.
His opinion on social media wasn’t a factor in the decision to forego DeAngelo, the team’s second highest paid defender by annual average, said Rangers President John Davidson.
“I think there is obviously a fine line with social media, but there is also free speech and we definitely watch what our players say and do on social media,” said Davidson. “But that had nothing to do with it.”
Davidson added that he had spoken to DeAngelo and wanted to help him.
“I had Tony in my office at the training center a while back,” said Davidson. “We had a really good conversation and I felt like we had to try and help Tony with Tony. Tony has many good qualities. Sometimes he comes up with what happened again in his own way. And we had to make it clear that if something comes up again, something will happen. And that’s exactly what happened. “
While playing Junior Hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, DeAngelo was banned twice for violating the league’s harassment, abuse, and diversity policies – at least once after using an unspecified sheet against a teammate. And he was suspended once in juniors and again in the Arizona Coyotes for molesting an officer.
The Rangers acquired DeAngelo, a selection from the first round of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2014, from the Coyotes in June 2017 as part of a deal for center Derek Stepan and goalkeeper Antti Raanta.
Gorton said the team was doing their research on DeAngelo by this point.
“We did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people about Tony before we bought him,” said Gorton. “We did our homework, we felt good. If you look at his track record on the ice with us, you know his season spoke for itself last year. There were a few things along the way, but really nothing that would suggest anything from his past and youth. There is nothing like it that has ever crossed our minds. “
The Rangers game against the Devils on Saturday was postponed as part of the schedule changes caused by the Devils having 10 players on the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list. The Devils won’t play until Saturday. The Rangers also added Kaapo Kakko, a sophomore striker, on the Covid-19 list.