Muscat: Prospect Profile – Anthony DeAngelo
Talk about irony. Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who wore number 19 during his illustrious playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, walked up to the podium at last month’s NHL Draft in Philadelphia and used the 19th pick to select Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo. (Photos/Susan Ferlita)
It was a dream come true for DeAngelo, who lives a few short minutes from South Philly as he got to celebrate the moment with about 150 family members and friends.
DeAngelo was the most gifted offenensive blueliner among this year’s draft eligible players. He led all Ontario Hockey League defensemen in assists (56) and points (71), but a dark cloud rose above him this past winter as he was suspended twice by the league for violating the Harassment and Abuse/Diversity policy, when he directed a slur at a teammate.
It raised a red flag with several NHL clubs, but that didn’t stop Yzerman from selecting DeAngelo, who for the last few weeks didn’t shy away from the topic. The newest member of the Bolts was very candid and answered all questions regarding what happened in Sarnia and was regretful that the incident happened.
Beat writer Erik Erlendsson asked DeAngelo about the incidents. Here is his response:
“I don’t really care what people say too much, but it is kind of annoying to answer it all the time,’’ DeAngelo said. “But at the same time I should be answering it, because people have a right to ask. I took responsibility for it and it’s not going to happen again.”
After seeing him several times over the last couple of years, his silky-smooth skating and on-ice vision is a bit similar to one of Yzerman’s former teammates in Detroit, Paul Coffey. Is he going to be the next Coffey? Not likely, but he has the potential to be a top-two defenseman and a power play quarterback.
One of things that DeAngelo has to work on is his play in his own zone. In his last three seasons in Sarnia, he came out on the negative side of the plus/minus rating, posting a -54 in 181 OHL games. Last season, he posted a -34 despite playing on a Sting squad that led the league with 341 goals. He’s still very young and has room to grow. DeAngelo will need to bulk up about 15-20 lbs to endure the NHL grind.
DeAngelo stood out in this past weekends Development Camp 3-on-3 tournament, scoring six goals and and earning 13 points, leading his team to the championship.
This upcoming season will be a critical one for DeAngelo. It is likely that he will spend one more season in the OHL and he will be out to prove to the other 18 teams who passed on him that he was worthy of their selection. He was snubbed by Team USA’s national evaluation camp, but if DeAngelo has a standout season, (and last year’s issues are buried) he could get the invite to represent the Red, White and Blue at the upcoming World Junior Championships.
Some say that the DeAngelo selection was a bold move on the part of Yzerman. Come to think about it, the team’s cupboard of blueline prospects was almost bare. The addition of DeAngelo alongside Slater Koekkoek and fellow draftees Dominik Masin and Johnathan MacLeod, has restocked that cupboard.
It won’t be too long when Anthony DeAngelo skates into enemy territory and sets up another Sting alumni…Steven Stamkos. Talk about irony!
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