The Arizona Coyotes haven’t been one of the NHL’s more successful teams this season. Although it hasn’t been all bad for Arizona this year, as they might have found a future All-Pro defenseman in Anthony DeAngelo.
With Zach Werenski putting up Calder-like numbers in Columbus, DeAngelo has gone relatively under the radar when it comes to rookie defenseman. However, he’s been one of the most reliable scorers for a young Arizona hockey team.
In less than one month of NHL action, DeAngelo has already earned a spot on the Coyotes top power play unit. He’s paired with fellow defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has had success with an offensive defenseman on the power play before. Although, DeAngelo has overshadowed the former 55-point offensive dynamo on both the power play and full strength.
While Oliver Ekman-Larsson is going through a severe slump, DeAngelo is having a quite dominant rookie season. In just 14 games, DeAngelo has recorded 3 goals and 8 assists. By comparison, Ekman-Larsson has played 29 games with 5 goals and 9 assists.
While Ekman-Larsson will certainly pick up the pace, you can’t ignore the impact DeAngelo is having on the Coyotes. He’s been the better offensive defenseman for the team since his recall from the AHL. And for all of DeAngelo’s supposed defensive shortcomings, his -2 +/- rating is better than Ekman-Larsson’s -5.
Let’s not get carried away about DeAngelo though. He’s still a rookie, and while we’ve seen players like Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere put up a Calder-like season last year, and Werenski doing the same this season, DeAngelo still has a lot to learn, and unlike the previously mentioned players, DeAngelo shares the ice with a former 50+ point defenseman.
Regardless, the play of DeAngelo isn’t surprising, but he’s also handled himself in a professional manner, a big step for DeAngelo considering his troubled past.
DeAngelo saw his stock fall during the 2014 NHL Draft. He was considered to be a “red flag” player due to an incident with his junior team, Sarnia Sting. Tampa Bay decided that the reward outweighed the risk and selected him 19th that year.
In 2016, DeAngelo was traded to Phoenix for a 2nd round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. It’s quite clear Phoenix had big plans for DeAngelo considering his quick call-up to the NHL. He’s a superstar in the making and will pair with Ekman-Larsson to give the Coyotes a dominant 1-2 punch for years to come.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288