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Hurricanes sign Tony DeAngelo after ‘a lot of background work’

Hurricanes sign Tony DeAngelo after 'a lot of background work'

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30: Tony DeAngelo #77 of the New York Rangers skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

On the same day of 2021 NHL Free Agency where the Canadiens continue to explain drafting Logan Mailloux, the Hurricanes paralleled that decision. For better or worse, Carolina clearly know it’s controversial to sign Tony DeAngelo, but they did it anyway.

Like the Canadiens, they tried to meet the bad press halfway by explaining the decision, essentially, as they made it.

“Tony is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman,” GM Don Waddell said in the team’s official release. “We’ve done a lot of background work on this player and we are confident that he can be a positive addition to our group.”

The Hurricanes signed Tony DeAngelo for one year at $1 million. Their gamble is that he delivers to the degree that they not only get more than that in on-ice value, but also that it’s worth the very negative PR.

It’s certainly ... a choice. Curiously, as a player, DeAngelo is the type of defenseman who tends to anger coaches and “hockey men.” Generally speaking, people don’t always have a ton of time for blueliners who bring such an extreme of potent offense with lousy defense:

Again, though, the Hurricanes aren’t just betting on Tony DeAngelo, the player. They’re also gambling on Tony DeAngelo, the person.

Will signing DeAngelo be worth it to the Hurricanes?

To put things mildly, the Hurricanes signing of DeAngelo will be polarizing.

It’s the sort of move that can distract from other Hurricanes free-agent signings. Bringing in DeAngelo takes attention away from (seemingly) letting Dougie Hamilton walk. Less attention goes to the new goalie duo of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. There’s even concern regarding how DeAngelo might interact with trade acquisition Ethan Bear.

As much as NHL teams insist that they hate “distractions,” the Hurricanes invited that in. In the process, they might have left fans feeling excluded.

However people feel about Tony DeAngelo’s (outspoken) political beliefs, he’s clashed both with teammates, opponents, and on-ice officials. PHT’s Adam Gretz neatly summarizes his history of altercations, which eventually inspired his falling out and buyout from the Rangers:

From a money standpoint, a one-year, $1M contract for Tony DeAngelo is low-risk for the cost-conscious Hurricanes. It’s a huge gamble, and maybe not a wise one, if Carolina is at all image-conscious.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.