Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton confirmed the news to reporters on Monday, saying this season’s issues with DeAngelo started in the first game of the year. After being whistled for a hold in an opening night thrashing by the Islanders, DeAngelo was awarded an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, slamming the penalty box door in the empty arena.
DeAngelo was a healthy scratch the next two games, something the defenseman was never able to get over as the season continued.
“Tony wasn’t able to move on from that, it was something that he was trying to get through,” said Gorton. “I had spoken to him and said ‘listen, if there’s any more issues here, the time is going to come where we’re going to put you on waivers and move on.’ No more issues.”
That time came not long after. DeAngelo was on the ice for four Pittsburgh goals in a 5-4 overtime loss on Saturday, accosting goalie Alexandar Georgiev on the way to the locker room, resulting in a fight.
Before Monday night’s rematch against the Penguins, DeAngelo had been waived and assigned to the taxi squad, with the Rangers pursuing a trade. By the end of the day, the defenseman had cleared waivers.
The Rangers and Penguins took the ice again for another tight contest, their fourth of eight this season. Pittsburgh took a lead halfway through the first period before the Rangers answered late in the second. With nine minutes left in the final period, the Rangers were handed a power play on a delay of game call.
New York’s solid power play took advantage. Adam Fox faked out the Pens defense, sending a shot towards goal, redirected in by Chris Kreider. With Pittsburgh’s net empty and the last seconds ticking off the clock, Artemi Panarin snuck the puck home for a 3-1 win, barely beating the clock to score in a third straight game.
A shaky start has left the Rangers in a tough spot, but the roster has shown off its vast young talent. Even with a slow start, this new Rangers team has plenty to look forward to.