New York Rangers must move on from Tony DeAngelo mess and focus on future

Tony DeAngelo #77 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Tony DeAngelo #77 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It is time for the New York Rangers and their young core to move on.

Tony DeAngelo has officially played his last game for the New York Rangers, with President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton telling the media earlier today that the defenseman won’t pull on a Blueshirts jersey ever again and will be assigned to the Taxi Squad and kept away from the team while a trade is worked on.

This development comes after DeAngelo was placed on Waivers on Sunday following reports of an altercation with a teammate in the wake of the Rangers’ Overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, a game DeAngelo was on the ice for four of the Penguins’ five goals. After carving out a career-year in 2019-20 with 53 points (15 G, 38 A) in 68 games, he took a huge step back this season with just one assist in six games with a -6 rating, committing a plethora of costly mistakes in the process.

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There were also multiple other reports concerning the defenseman and his overall erratic behaviour, some of which were shot down today, while Davidson and Gorton denied that DeAngelo’s alarming behaviour on Twitter and his political beliefs had anything to do with this decision, rather that DeAngelo was warned by Gorton after being benched for two games earlier in the season that if his name cropped up in anything else or he caused more trouble then he would be placed on Waivers.

Whether people want to believe that or not and whether critics want to drag the New York Rangers over the coals for giving DeAngelo a platform in the first place is a different conversation for a different day, but the fact remains that this organization must now move on and continue to take steps in the right direction.

The New York Rangers must now move on from Tony DeAngelo fiasco

Granted, this won’t truly be over until Tony DeAngelo is actually traded and it remains to be seen if the Rangers will have to retain some of his $9,600,000 contract, but they will likely do whatever needs to be done at this point in order to get the blueliner out of the building and away from what they are trying to build here.

Again, as we stated above, there will be questions over how the Rangers handled this whole situation and there were eyebrows raised when they took a chance on DeAngelo in the first place, but there is no doubt that they eventually came to the right decision to cut all ties with the player and move on.

As we mapped out here, the Rangers are not yet a contender and they are trying to establish a new culture at Madison Square Garden built around a young, talent-laden core that they hope to be the future of this storied Original Six franchise for years to come. It is also hoped that the likes of Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko K’Andre Miller, Adam Fox and Igor Shesterkin, along with Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin, can form the bedrock of a team that competes for multiple Stanley Cups and brings the glory days back to Broadway.

Alexis Lafreniere (13)
Alexis Lafreniere #13 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Therefore, and with a boatload of more rookies expected to flood that locker room at MSG over the next season or two as the Rangers complete the final steps of this rebuild, it is imperative that there isn’t any conflict or divide in the room that can cause tension and potentially a divide among players. We don’t know what Tony DeAngelo was like within the confines of the locker room, but we do know he said something to goaltender Alexandar Georgiev after Saturday’s game that sparked an altercation, and you just can’t allow that kind of stuff to go on.

You also don’t want any poison in the room or any bad influences around prospects and rookies you hope to be the face of your franchise for years to come, so it was vital that the Rangers made a decision that was for the best of the whole team. After all, DeAngelo has always been a bit of a hot head with a whole litany of issues throughout his career, so removing him from the building should ensure that this young core can focus on getting better, focus on developing and focus on what it takes to win without having to deal with distractions because of a teammate’s erratic behaviour all the time.

And that is vitally important. Starting the 2020-21 season 2-4-2 prior to tonight’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins at The Garden, confidence is probably shot in that Rangers locker room right now so they need complete unity and togetherness in order to heal, bounce back and at least be competitive in what is a stacked East Division.

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The most important thing at play here though is the future and the New York Rangers must put this whole sorry and messy situation with Tony DeAngelo firmly in the rearview mirror and instead focus on the future and giving this young core every possible available tool in order to allow them to develop and give them every chance of succeeding. The building blocks are firmly in place for this franchise to become a powerhouse in the National Hockey League again and, with hopefully all distractions now dealt with, the focus can now be on continuing to head in the right direction, winning hockey games and building a championship caliber team.