Flyers waive DeAngelo, will buyout contract

Flyers' Tony DeAngelo and Morgan Frost
Philadelphia Flyers’ Tony DeAngelo, left, celebrates his goal with Morgan Frost (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

It didn’t happen on the terms the Philadelphia Flyers hoped, but the Tony DeAngelo experiment is officially through.

Daniel Briere unconditionally waived DeAngelo with the intention of a buyout. The buyout would be 2yrs/$3.33mil in total.

Effectively, this is a termination of the contract. DeAngelo will become an unrestricted free agent, available for any franchise. In 2023-2024, DeAngelo was due to make $5mil with the Flyers but would’ve become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Announcing his placement on waivers for the intention of the buyout expedited the process, cutting their losses from a prior, desperate Chuck Fletcher trade.

“Tony DeAngelo’s a hell of a player. Tony DeAngelo has personality. Is he going to say and do some stupid stuff? You’re damn right he is. But I’d rather have a guy doing stupid stuff than having a choir boy here just going about your business.”

John Tortorella; 7/20/2022

John Tortorella defended DeAngelo heading into the 2022-2023 regular season. On prior teams, DeAngelo caused quite a stir. DeAngelo wanted to be in Philadelphia, citing himself as a Flyers fan when he grew up. By the end of the season, he wore out his welcome. Tortorella benched DeAngelo for the final five games, spelling the writing on the wall.

“I know that’s probably a big topic for you guys; Tony didn’t play the last five games, so something happened, right? That’s going to stay between Tony and I and the team. My job is to make decisions for what is best for the hockey team; my job as a coach. Sometimes it causes situations, but that’s all part of it.”

John Tortorella; 4/17/2023

The Flyers weren’t in line to receive a hefty haul for DeAngelo. They received interest from the Carolina Hurricanes, which would’ve included 50% retention of the money owed, to receive Massimo Rizzo, a seventh-round selection from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Sometimes addition by subtraction is good enough.

Trade Fallout

A selling point on DeAngelo would be his skill as an offensive defenseman on the powerplay. He can move the puck well along the blue line and proved it last season. DeAngelo led the team in powerplay assists.

DeAngelo was the chief catalyst for the worst powerplay in the NHL, yet he isn’t welcomed back to Philadelphia by the current regime.

Carolina ranked 20th in the NHL on the powerplay in 2022-2023. DeAngelo also played there before Don Waddell fleeced Fletcher, turning in the best season of his career in 2021-2022.

Waddell knew the fissures between DeAngelo and the Flyers because it was one of the worst-kept secrets. Tortorella spoke with his actions, benching DeAngelo. The holdup in the trade had less to do with the return and more with a wait-and-see approach to the possibility of a buyout. If the Hurricanes are serious about DeAngelo, he can negotiate directly with him.

Buyout History

By the numbers, this is the second time DeAngelo had his contract bought out. Both teams to have the honor are Metropolitan Division rivals. First, it was the New York Rangers on July 23rd, 2021.

He is the first NHL player to experience two buyouts.

Defensively, the unit is open for competition beginning at the 2023 Flyers Training Camp. Rasmus Ristolainen and Cam York should see an increased role in the powerplay.

(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)