We all know the things Tony DeAngelo has done in his hockey career, both in the NHL and otherwise.
His career has been one where the positives he puts into it are always counterbalanced with an alienating negative. You can’t think of his 2019-20 season (53 points in 68 games) without the aftermath of what would follow, which was a big enough deal to get him quasi-suspended from the NHL for what essentially amounts to an entire season.
From our earlier article on the trade:
“He has spent his hockey career punching his goaltender, throwing social media tantrums when former president Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, and trying to cover up his prior OHL suspension for using racial slurs on the ice, among other things. Because of this, he was banished from the league for less than a single year, after being bought out by the New York Rangers...”
As said above, we all know the kind of person DeAngelo is, and as much as he can attempt to distract from his past and present in the form of solid play on the blue-line, it is going to be talked about. He’ll garner supporters, as well as alienate a large section of the fanbase, that much is certain.
But where this trade left me scratching my head is how, on a team that was shaken up to “change the culture” with the addition of Cam Atkinson and departure of Jake Voracek, for example, bringing in a known combative locker-room presence like DeAngelo is an obvious disregard for the work that was done to change said culture. (I’m not saying that work resulted in any winning, but that was a sentiment clearly echoed by management.)
You don’t tend to hear about many inter-personal goings-on in NHL rooms and the league as a whole is pretty tight-lipped on these manners. That’s why DeAngelo’s altercation with the New York Rangers was so striking (albeit unsurprising). The fact DeAngelo has maintained this level of controversy-magnet in a league like the NHL speaks volumes.
We all know he’s an alienating figure, and we have no idea how his new Flyer teammates will feel about him, nor what will happen when he inevitably causes a stir in the Flyer locker room.
For a team looking to channel a winning culture and turn themselves around without a re-build, this move has left many puzzled.