Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Avoid Potentially Disastrous Trade

Toronto Maple Leafs, Tony DeAngelo (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs, Tony DeAngelo (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been here before.

They’ve been on the cusp of success, looking at other teams’ players trying to find an edge leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Even though it has been tempting before, the Leafs managed to avoid acquiring a trade target with a controversial past. They must continue to do the same.

There are some players who are highly skilled but bring with them baggage that becomes detrimental to their team. Tony DeAngelo has been one of these players.

Time with the New York Rangers

Despite all his talent, the New York Rangers did what the Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes had before them. They decided DeAngelo would be better suited with another club.

In late January of 2021, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton decided that DeAngelo wouldn’t play again for his organization. This came after a culmination of events. The impetus was a physical altercation between the defenseman and his goaltender, Alexandar Georgiev.

The Rangers had had enough and were willing to give DeAngelo away for free. That’s why they placed him on waivers. When no one claimed him, the Rangers had him sit out the remainder of the season and then bought him out of the final year of his $4.8 million contract.

DeAngelo’s social media posts were a source of contention. He engaged on Twitter with COVID-denial and disinformation by retweeting and liking certain posts. It’s important to note that at the time, New York City was in disarray, battling one the greatest death tolls in its history.

DeAngelo also used Twitter to argue with hockey fans. He even challenged one to meet him for a fight outside of Madison Square Garden.

There had been on-ice issues as well. In 2019, while with the Coyotes, he was suspended three games for trying to push a referee. With the Rangers, he had taken irresponsible penalties and was even benched for receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, just days before the altercation with Georgiev.

DeAngelo’s time playing Major Junior hockey was far worse. He was suspended in 2014 for what was reported as “race-based language”, which he had directed toward a teammate. He faced an eight-game suspension for it.

Present Day

It’s been two years since the last time DeAngelo made the news for his actions in New York. Some may believe he has changed and perhaps he has. Now 27-years-old, he may have learned from his mistakes and matured. DeAngelo may no longer be the type of person who causes ripples in his own team’s locker room.

This past summer, the Carolina Hurricanes shipped the blue liner out of their locker room. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. With the Flyers this season, DeAngelo has registered 10 goals and 23 assists in 54 games. He has one year remaining on his contract beyond this one with an accompanying $5 million cap hit.

The Flyers are far from a playoff team and would love to build the organization by acquiring assets by shedding current NHL players. Without the baggage, DeAngelo would be on many teams’ radars and likely in high demand.

While DeAngelo may no longer be a divisive presence, there’s too great a risk for the Maple Leafs to take that chance. It appears as though the players in Toronto are having fun and enjoying their time together. It speaks to the culture the organization has built. Even if they felt that DeAngelo puts the club over the top, adding the wrong player could undo all the good that has been built.

dark. Next. Exploring Different Trade Scenarios for the Leafs

At this point, the Maple Leafs need to be overly selective about who they choose to bring into the fold. That cannot be DeAngelo.