In June of 2017, the Rangers made the first big move of the rebuild when the traded away fan favorite Derek Stepan. The trade sent Stepan, and Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes for the 7th overall pick in the 2017 draft, along with defenseman Tony DeAngelo. This post is not about the trade, so I will not get into that, but many thought after two or so years the Rangers were massive losers in the deal. Now with the whole Lias Andersson situation (with whom they selected with that 7th overall pick), it has made it look even worse. With all that being said, Tony DeAngelo is making this trade look like a massive win for GM Jeff Gorton. After signing a one year deal in the off-season, DeAngelo is set to be an RFA this summer. The biggest difference between this summer and last, is that now he has arbitration rights. Let’s take a look at what kind of deal DeAngelo can be looking at this summer.
The Rangers are projected to have over $14 million dollars in cap space this upcoming summer, with a few mouths to feed. Aside from DeAngelo, the Rangers need to lock up Ryan Strome and Brendan Lemieux too. This is not a post about who they should or shouldn’t keep, but strictly about what a guy in DeAngelo’s position will likely get. DeAngelo is having a marvelous season thus far. At just 24 years old, he has now found a home and comfort here with the Blueshirts. Through 43 games, DeAngelo has compiled 36 points. He is on pace for a whopping 69 points, and currently ranks 6th in points scored by a defenseman in the entire NHL. It is extremely tough to gauge contracts in the NHL, but a right handed defensemen that is nearly a point per game player is not going to come cheap.
The Flames recently signed 23 year old Rasmus Andersson to a six-year deal carrying an AAV of $4.55 million. I don’t know if this is the best comparison because Andersson is only on pace for 23 points, but it is the most relative contract of late. I think that Andersson’s contract will be a leverage point for DeAngelo and his agent whether talks go to arbitration or not, and based on that deal DeAngelo will be making more. Using the Andersson comparisons, I would predict that DeAngelo will get a deal in the 5-6 year range, carrying an AAV of $6-6.5 million. In my opinion, he is worth every dollar, and someone that the Rangers NEED to keep long term.
Of course, the Rangers could opt to go for a bridge deal around 2-3 years for less. The risk is that he could opt to go the UFA route and be lost for nothing when the deal ends. In essence, penny smart and a dollar dumb.
Thinking about the cap situation the Rangers are going to be in this summer, I can see Jeff Gorton asking DeAngelo to do something similar to what the Sharks did with Kevin LaBanc. LaBanc, who many expected to get a hefty long-term deal, received a one-year deal from the Sharks this past summer. Everyone was stunned by this, but it made sense considering the cap crunch the Sharks were in. Many presumed that this was just a one- year segway with a future long term deal “in place” for LaBanc because the Sharks just could not afford it this year. Now that we are in January, the Sharks can negotiate a new deal for LaBanc that would kick in next season when they are not as tight against the cap. This is a loop-hole that Gorton may try to exploit when negotiating with DeAngelo because of the tough cap crunch they will face this summer.