STING SUSPEND PLAYER FOR SLUR AT TEAMMATE
That collective whoosh is the sound of red flags rising across 30 National Hockey League scouting departments.
The Ontario Hockey League’s top scoring defenceman and a top draft prospect will sit for eight games after a slur uttered to a teammate violated the league’s harassment and abuse/diversity policy.
Sarnia’s Anthony DeAngelo began a team-imposed suspension following a game against Guelph on Jan. 31, when the slur was uttered. The Sting suspended DeAngelo and brought the matter to the league’s attention, and after a review, the league handed down the eight game ban.
What was said and to whom hasn’t been made public, nor will it likely be in the future. What is known, however, is this isn’t DeAngelo’s first time receiving supplemental discipline under this policy.
What’s more telling than the words spoken are the actions taken by his team. The fact head coach Trevor Letowski and his organization believed it was worth suspending one of its best players, whose future will be heavily-influenced by his play this season, says more than revealing the slur ever could.
“Internally as an organization we made the decision,” Letowski told Yahoo Sports. “It was obviously a serious matter. Any time it involves one of our players there has to be a certain respect level. We respect all of our players and it was pretty serious.
“We handled it internally for the first day and then we felt it was important that the league became involved … we completely support the league’s decision.”
DeAngelo, who hails from Sewell, N.J., is in his third season with the Sting and already achieved career highs in goals (13) and points (60). He ranked 10th among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting in the mid-term rankings, third-highest among defencemen behind Aaron Ekblad and Haydn Fleury.
Although short in stature and with defensive shortcomings, DeAngelo’s offensive attributes will be intriguing for NHL teams. This suspension, however, will certainly give teams more pause when the obvious questions arise about his character.
DeAngelo won’t have much opportunity to get back in the good graces of NHL decision-makers. He’s eligible to return to the lineup on Feb. 22, giving him just three weeks to let his play do the talking since the Sting are almost assuredly going to miss the playoffs this season. This will surely make his one of the most volatile draft stocks in the coming months.
QMJHL CHANGES RULE ON COMPENSATORY PICKS
Just call it the Nicolas Roy rule.
The Screaming Eagles stockpiled their future by trading away their biggest piece of the future. Cape Breton drafted Roy first overall last summer, knowing full well the draft’s most talented player had no intentions in ever playing in Sydney, N.S. Undeterred, the team took him anyways, obtained a compensatory first- and second-round pick for his no-show, and then cashed in by dealing him to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens for three additional first round picks.
Talk about a major coup. The Screaming Eagles, whose rebuilding project would surely have increased had Roy reported, are in great shape now to either use those picks or trade them to expedite the new phase.
The trade, which gave the Screaming Eagles a huge cache of assets, won’t be the last of its kind now that a new rule was instituted.
How the new rule will affect teams like the Screaming Eagles now is it will force them to either accept the compensatory pick for a first-round no-show or try to find a better package in a trade. Rather than receiving both, a team would have to submit a written request to the league to receive the compensatory pick, which would then put the player in the pool of players eligible for the next year’s draft. (The compensatory pick would come in the following draft, five spots back of the original selection. Thus, for the first pick overall, a team would be drafting sixth the next year.)
Essentially, it will likely eliminate the compensatory picks since it will be both in the team’s and player’s best interests for a trade rather than having both wait a year. It might, however, lessen leverage for the team trying to trade the player, although that remains to be seen.
“We’ve seen over the years this rule is open to abuse,” Shawinigan Cataractes general manager Martin Mondou told Le Nouvelliste. “I’m totally in favour of this change.”
“The rule is there to compensate a team who saw their first-round pick quit and head to the United States and to avoid players like Anthony Duclair to slide in the draft,” Mondou continued. “I believe the new rule will protect that. A team with a lot of draft picks won’t let a player slide when they believe he’s the best available.”
SEA DOGS FIND THEIR MAN
The Saint John Sea Dogs finally found Mike Kelly’s replacement in the front office.
After going with a tandem of head coach Ross Yates and head scout Christian Vermette as co-GMs following Kelly’s departure, the Sea Dogs named Darrell Young the team’s new GM. Young spent 25 years scouting for NHL teams, most recently with the Vancouver Canucks, and has prior experience in a QMJHL front office as director of hockey operations with the Moncton Wildcats from 2000 to 2002.
The Sea Dogs are in contention for a playoff spot this season but aren’t likely to factor much beyond a speed bump for a contending team should they make it. Young’s draft pedigree will be crucial to reviving the Maritimes’ first MasterCard Memorial Cup winning franchise back to contention.
– Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a line brawl between the Tri-City Americans and the Seattle Thunderbirds.
– There’s no greater example of Jesse Graham’s speed than this remarkable goal prevention-turned-fast-break-goal late in a game one week ago against Sault Ste. Marie. Unfortunately for Graham, his team still lost.