The Philadelphia Flyers have started their big offseason moves that began with a trade acquiring Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, and a 2023 second-round pick. The Flyers went on to immediately agree to a terms with DeAngelo on a two-year extension worth $5 million average annual value (AAV).
Both teams came out on top in this trade and the Flyers were able to sign the 11th-highest-scoring defenseman in terms of points per game to a low AAV in comparison to what the rest of the field is making. Devon Toews is the only defenseman that finished higher that is making less money than DeAngelo next season. We will take a look at the newly acquired defenseman’s impressive young career on the ice, where he fits in the lineup and on the team, and what this means for the Flyers moving forward.
DeAngelo’s Impressive Young Career
DeAngelo is just 26 years old, so the Flyers got him in the prime of his career. He has already shown a very impressive ability to put up points and run a power play, as he has now put up big numbers for two different franchises. It took him a few seasons to get acclimated to the NHL after starting in Arizona and moving over to New York, but by his third season and first one where he played over half of the games, he scored at nearly a 0.5 points-per-game pace at age 23.
The next season DeAngelo popped off for 15 goals and 53 points in 68 games to finish 12th in Norris Trophy voting. But you could see the tides turning as Adam Fox had arrived and put up 42 points in his rookie season that year. Problems aside the following season, DeAngelo was able to come right back into the NHL last season for the Hurricanes and dominate once again, not missing a step. He scored 10 goals and 51 points in 64 games, but again struggled a bit with injuries. He isn’t the biggest defenseman in the world at just 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, but he is very effective when he’s in the lineup.
Where DeAngelo Fits in on the Back-End
On the Hurricanes last season DeAngelo played just a hair under 20 minutes a night. Much more ice time shouldn’t be expected from him in Philadelphia considering the stronger group they have, but he will surely get all of the power-play time as the Flyers need the help. He has scored five power-play goals and 39 power-play points over his past two full seasons and the last-place power play (12.6 percent) could use all of the specialists they can get.
The Flyers’ attempt at bringing in a power-play specialist in Keith Yandle didn’t work out last season, but they have a young stud in DeAngelo to get it right this season. There were multiple players trying to help out on the top unit, but none that really made a difference. Yandle is well past his prime, Ivan Provorov is not at the same level as he once was, Ryan Ellis was injured the entire season, and Cam York is still very young. One or more of them may have to still jump in at one point during the season since DeAngelo likely won’t play every game, but the team won’t be reliant on someone to play up to a level we haven’t seen before or should expect.
With three right defensemen making $5 million or more next season, one of them has to shift over to the left side unless they are going to play DeAngelo on the third pairing. As a team strapped for cap and more moves to make, this may not be the best course of action. If the Flyers do play him on the third pairing alongside York, they likely won’t complement each other as Travis Sanheim would for DeAngelo since he did so for every one of his partners last season. The Flyers now have six strong defensemen when healthy, so there’s also a fair possibility one gets moved out. Considering Rasmus Ristolainen just signed an extension and York is still on his entry-level deal, those two appear safe. Take you pick at which of the other three may be on the way out to free up room and cap space.
What This Means for the Flyers
In terms of adding security and high-offensive talent, Fletcher did a great job considering he was able to hold onto all of the Flyers’ first-round picks and give away a second-round pick in a year they plan on finishing much higher. The timetable of two years gives the Flyers the flexibility to part ways with DeAngelo if things go south with the team or with him.
It’s not a big commitment and it gives the Flyers the extra firepower to deal with any possible Ellis injury as well as a two-year window to turn the team around. An interesting storyline to watch is how new head coach John Tortorella works with DeAngelo as they both have strong personalities.
I mentioned above that the Flyers aren’t likely finished making moves yet and the defense is now pretty crowded. We may see another move made on the back end soon. What are your thoughts on the Flyers bringing in DeAngelo? Let me know in the comments below.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News, trade talks, and daily betting guides.
You can find more of his work here.