Tony DeAngelo says he’s ready to start a new chapter of his NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers and will buy into what coach John Tortorella wants of him.
“It’s his team, so whatever he says needs to be done, that’s what we’re all going to do,” the defenseman said Saturday, a day after he was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes for a fourth-round pick (No. 101) in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft, a third-round pick in the 2023 draft and a second-round pick in the 2024 draft. Philadelphia also received a seventh-round pick (No. 22) in the 2022 draft.
Tortorella was named Flyers coach on June 17, replacing Mike Yeo, who was fired May 3. Philadelphia went 25-46-11 last season, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth time in 10 seasons.
Tortorella has a defence-first mentality. DeAngelo has more of an offense-first game, but said he’s getting better on the defensive side.
“The only way you can win in this league is if you have guys bought in,” DeAngelo said. “Whatever ‘Torts’ wants, that’s what we have to do,” he said. “Within a team structure, everyone’s play comes out. If you’re an offensive guy, your play has to come out. Coaches know they have to get guys doing what they do best as well. So we’ll play in the structure, and our individual skills are going to have to show too, to be a good team.”
[RELATED: DeAngelo traded to Flyers | NHL Trade Tracker]
DeAngelo can become a restricted free agent July 13. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday that Philadelphia is close to agreeing with DeAngelo on a new contract.
The 26-year-old had 51 points (10 goals, 41 assists) in 64 regular-season games and 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 14 playoff games for the Hurricanes last season. Carolina lost to the New York Rangers in six games in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round.
Selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round (No. 19) of the 2014 NHL Draft, DeAngelo has 157 points (34 goals, 123 assists) in 270 regular-season games for the Arizona Coyotes, Rangers and Hurricanes, and 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 17 playoff games.
DeAngelo was placed on waivers by New York on Jan. 31, 2021, after an incident involving goalie Alexander Georgiev following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins the day before. At that time, then-Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said waiving DeAngelo was the result of a culmination of incidents during that season that was becoming a distraction, including the way DeAngelo had reacted to being scratched.
Video: DeAngelo traded to Flyers for multiple picks
DeAngelo said he has matured since.
“I think a lot of the things I got in trouble for in New York stemmed from, I’m going to walk the line pretty tight, the way I play I’m a competitive guy, a fiery person,” he said. “That’s because I want to win, and I think sometimes I’ve gone a little overboard. But I thought this year I matured a lot, did a better job.
“Obviously I had a year off hockey, played six games two years ago and then was sitting around, waiting to get back in. When I had opportunity to get in and go to Carolina, I just took advantage, tried to mature. I still play with that fire, still play with passion, but I held the line on it really well. It was never in doubt at all. It was a good year, and I know it’s going to continue to go that way, so I don’ t have any concerns.”
DeAngelo said he also enjoyed playing for Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. The former NHL forward had 1,184 points (452 goals, 732 assists) in 1,484 games with the St. Louis Blues, Flyers and Hurricanes, winning the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006.
“I can’t thank him enough,” DeAngelo said of Brind’Amour. “I mean, what an unbelievable coach, a great guy. I texted him last night, told him that once everything settled down, I wanted to call him and thank him properly on the phone. I didn’t want to send a text and thank him. You guys (Philadelphia media) knew him when he was here, but everything you hear about him is spot on. He’s a great man, great coach, great motivator and I couldn’t be more thankful to play for him.
“We talked about Philly a lot. He knows what it means to be a Flyer. We share similar opinions on how the game should be played and what hockey’s all about. Me and him always see eye to eye and I think he loved being a Flyer and a Hurricane as well. In my opinion, he as a Flyer, that’s what the League needs more of. I think hockey needs to go back to Roddy’s style of game.
“Hopefully I can bring some of that back to the Flyers as well.”