A Controversial Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Target With a Questionable Past

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs trade for Tony DeAngelo? (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Should the Toronto Maple Leafs trade for Tony DeAngelo? (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are certain to be looking to improve their roster before the playoffs. They may target a divisive player, but is it worth the risk?

The Toronto Maple Leafs scouting staff is busy doing their due diligence identifying players who can help the team. With the NHL trade deadline just around the corner, February 24, the team will need to start inquiring about potential deals fairly soon.

There is a potential transaction that could help solidify two areas of need for the Leafs, their backup goaltending and the blueline.

This could be addressed in a single trade with the New York Rangers. To make it happen, the Leafs would need to gamble on a player with a checkered past. They must decide if it’s worth it.

Toronto Maple Leafs Rumours

Rumors have been flying that link the Leafs to Rangers backup goaltender Alexander Georgiev. He would be an upgrade to Michael Hutchinson, but that isn’t enough for the Leafs going into the playoffs.

Ideally, they are able to acquire more defensive depth. With players like Jeremy Bracco that the Buds are willing to dangle as trade bait, that could be a reality.

The Rangers have a 24-year-old defenseman, Anthony “Tony” DeAngelo, whose on-ice skills would be an incredible fit with Toronto.

Kyle Dubas should have the pieces needed to get a package that includes both Georgiev and DeAngelo from the Rangers. The pair of players may be on the block because both of their contracts expire at the end of the season, making them both restricted free agents. The question is, should the young defenseman even be a trade target?

DeAngelo impresses with his speed, passing, and ability to jump into the rush at just the right time. His hockey skillset cannot be questioned.

He has even collected 29 points in 39 games this season. That’s good enough for eighth-best in the league at his position. That skillset appears to make DeAngelo the perfect player for Toronto, but his personality and decision making should have Dubas thinking twice. He has a questionable history.

DeAngelo was suspended twice when he played juniors. Once was for violating the OHL’s Harassment and Abuse / Diversity Policy policy when he played for the Sarnia Sting. His actions were reported as “race-based language” directed towards a teammate. It was serious enough to warrant an eight-game suspension. DeAngelo was also handed a single game for abuse of official in a separate incident.

After DeAngelo was selected by Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round (19th overall), he once again found himself having discipline issues.

He was suspended yet again for an altercation with a referee. Then playing for their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, he was a healthy scratch eight times due to Rob Zettler’s coach’s decision.

It was speculated that DeAngelo was held out of games because of “attitude issues, undisciplined play and an aversion to defense”.

The Lightning must have been concerned about DeAngelo’s character because before he played a single game in the NHL, they shipped him to the Arizona Coyotes. The Lightning took a meager return to get rid of him, accepting just a second-round pick.

The Coyotes went into the trade with eyes wide open. John Chyka, the team’s general manager said of DeAngelo, “It’s always a concern but we thought the risk was worth it at that point. He’s a young kid. He’s made some mistakes or done some things, but we’re willing to work with him. We think strongly that he’s a good person.”

In DeAngelo’s first year in the NHL, he played just 39 games, but still managed to find himself in hot water just as he had in junior. He was handed three games for attempting to shove an official. He also got a game misconduct and ejected for a boarding major penalty.

Now with the Rangers, DeAngelo is still a polarizing figure because he is outspoken about his loyalty to Donald Trump. Staunch support in this current political environment may rub teammates the wrong way.

With DeAngelo’s history and potential to disrupt the current chemistry in the Leafs locker-room, Dubas must think very carefully before pulling the trigger on any transaction involving the enigmatic defenseman. It may just be tough to turn down if the Rangers are willing to make a sweetheart deal.

There may be two schools of thought on DeAngelo. Some may say that there is no need to risk bringing in someone to disrupt team chemistry while others may believe that everyone should be granted opportunities to show they have matured from past transgressions.

Next. Toronto Maple Leafs New Years Resolutions for 2020. dark

If the Toronto Maple Leafs decide to trade for DeAngelo, he will surely be welcomed by fans. However, his actions will be also be heavily scrutinized.