MONTREAL — The Tony DeAngelo experiment is over.
The controversial defenseman was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers along with a 2022 seventh-round pick in exchange for second-, third- and fourth-round picks on Friday at the NHL Draft in Montreal, ending his tenure in Raleigh after one season in which he had 51 points and resurrected his career.
Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said before the first round of the NHL Draft in Montreal on Thursday that the team had been negotiating with the restricted free agent on a deal that would keep him in Raleigh “for a few years,” but Waddell said there was a “difference of opinion” on what the dollar amounts should be on such a deal.
“We were trying to obviously talk about an extension and just didn’t get any place with it,” Waddell said. “There were teams that were interested, so we did our best to maximize the return value.”
In return for the rights to DeAngelo — who was one year away from being eligible for unrestricted free agency and reportedly signed a two-year deal worth $5 million annually with the Flyers following the trade — Carolina received three picks: the 101st pick in this year’s draft, with which they Swedish defenseman Simon Forsmark; a third-round pick in 2023; and a second-round pick in 2024.
It’s the second straight year Carolina has parted ways with its top-scoring defenseman.
DeAngelo was signed by the Hurricanes to a one-year, $1 million contract last offseason after his tumultuous departure from the Rangers the year before. He and Ethan Bear were brought in to fill the hole left in the lineup when Dougie Hamilton signed a seven-year, $63 million deal with the Devils last summer.
While Bear performed below expectations, seemingly never bouncing back from an early-season bout with COVID-19, DeAngelo outperformed them.
The 26-year-old was close to a point-per-game player for the first six months of the season, scoring 10 goals and adding 35 assists in his first 50 games in a Hurricanes’ sweater while helping the team’s power play overcome the departure of Hamilton. Most importantly, the on- and off-ice issues that have plagued him in the past were not problems during his time with the Hurricanes.
But DeAngelo struggled in the season’s final month, registering just six assists in 14 games. Then in the postseason, DeAngelo managed eight points in the seven-game opening-round win over the Bruins but stumbled against his former team, managing just two assists as the Rangers eliminated Carolina in seven games.
“He came in and did everything that we had asked him to do,” Waddell said when asked to assess DeAngelo’s one season in Raleigh. “He had a very good regular season. The playoffs, first round, was good; second round, maybe not so good. But overall, he carried himself very well. … Players liked him, coach liked him.
“It was not a player that we were looking to move on from, but it’s the way things worked out and I wish Tony the best.”
Waddell said it “was more probably the money” than the length of a possible contract that derailed negotiations on a new deal between DeAngelo and Carolina. Waddell said the team was trying to find common ground with DeAngelo’s camp until late Thursday.
“When it became apparent that we couldn’t get him signed,” Waddell said, “I called (Flyers GM) Chuck (Fletcher) and we worked it out last night.”
DeAngelo returns home with the deal — he was born in Sewell, New Jersey, which is about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia.
Fletcher said he thought DeAngelo would complement Philadelphia’s current defense corps under new coach John Tortorella.
“I know Torts is very excited to work with him,” Fletcher said. He also added that the team hopes to put DeAngelo in situations where he wouldn’t have to defend as much. DeAngelo often played difficult minutes last season alongside Jaccob Slavin.
Waddell, meanwhile, didn’t think needing to add a top-four defenseman would put them in a bad situation when negotiating with other teams.
“Some teams are trying to move guys because of money and all that, so it might work out pretty well for us.”