Latest posts by Phil Kocher (see all)
- Tony DeAngelo Will Miss 3-to-4 Weeks with Sprained Ankle - 03/14/2018
- Quick Hits - Rome Wasn't Built in a Day - 03/10/2018
- Quick Hits: Rangers Suddenly Deep at C, but D May Kill Hank - 03/03/2018
The New York Rangers have have many reasons to want to move on from this season. Not only has it cemented their new goal of rebuilding to contention, which has forced their hands in saying goodbye to long-time players like Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh, but it’s been a year from hell regarding the sheer volume of players who’ve missed time due to injury.
To date, over the course of this season that still has a dozen games left to complete, the Rangers have seen a staggering sixteen (!) players lose man games to a variety of injuries both short-term and long. Now they can add another body to the pile: Tony DeAngelo.
OFFICIAL: #NYR Tony DeAngelo suffered a sprained ankle in Monday night’s game against Carolina and will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 14, 2018
In and of itself, DeAngelo’s loss isn’t backbreaking. Not for the Rangers, at least. This Blueshirts squad is not yet mathematically eliminated from playoff contention but they are well behind the eight-ball should they still harbor any unrealistic hopes of qualifying for them.
For DeAngelo, however, the timing couldn’t be worse. A healthy scratch at a few points this season, the 22-year-old, who was acquired in the trade that sent Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes last summer, had finally begun to find the kind of consistency the Rangers were hoping to see from him since the start of the season. Thanks to the trades of both Ryan McDonagh and Nick Holden—the latter of whom spent much of the season on the right side of the top pairing—DeAngelo even managed to climb the roster—albiet a skeleton crew—to play beside Brady Skjei over the last few weeks.
“It’s not going to help,” Alain Vigneault told Larry Brooks of the New York Post. “It’s unfortunate, but injuries are part of the game, players get them, and they’ve got to work real hard with the right mindset to get themselves back in the groove.
“But I do think that in the short amount of time that he was here, he was making some positive strides in his game, understanding the game, and coming along for us as a good right-handed D. And that righty-lefty combination, in seeing [Neal] Pionk with Marc [Staal], or Tony with Marc or with Brady [Skjei], is something that permits us to get better touches on the back end with the puck and something we should look at moving forward, that righty-lefty combination.”
While the injury itself isn’t serious, a three-to-four week diagnosis at this juncture of his career and the Rangers season, is. Especially as arguably one of the most important blueliners effectively auditioning for a roster spot next season.
As it stands today, veteran Kevin Shattenkirk and 22-year-old Neal Pionk—who appears to have accomplished this feat in just 16 games—are arguably the only two right side defenders who have earned the right to be pencilled into next season’s opening night roster. Barring additional trades this summer, DeAngelo can expect to compete directly with any right-handed veterans the Rangers bring into camp, either by signing or professional tryout.
In the interim, the Rangers have also recalled 25-year-old right-handed defenseman Ryan Spoul, who skated in four games with the Blueshirts earlier this season.