Flyers defenceman Tony DeAngelo clears waivers, becomes free agent after buyout

Philadelphia Flyers' Tony DeAngelo, left, tries to keep away from Detroit Red Wings' Robby Fabbri during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Defenceman Tony DeAngelo cleared waivers on Saturday, paving the way for the Philadelphia Flyers to buy out the final year of his $5 million contract.

The club made a point of explaining their decision via a story on their website but appeared to go one step further by throwing some shade DeAngelo’s way in the process.

“DeAngelo produced points at a reasonable pace (11 goals, 42 points in 70 games) and brought some intensity and physical competitiveness. However, the Flyers struggled to keep the puck out of their own net when DeAngelo was on the ice,” read the Flyers’ statement, which is not untrue, but eyebrow-raising for a team to say about a departing player.

The statement went on to note: “This is the second time in DeAngelo’s career has been waived for buyout purposes.”

That sentence is referring to when DeAngelo was put on waivers by the New York Rangers after a post-game incident with goalie Alexandar Georgiev on Jan. 31, 2021. The Rangers waived him, but no one made a claim, and DeAngelo did not play the remainder of the season. The Rangers then placed him on unconditional waivers in July for the purposes of being him out, as the Flyers are doing now.

DeAngelo, 27, a native of Sewell, N.J., was traded from Carolina to Philadelphia last July and signed a two-year, $10 million contract days later. He scored 42 points with 31 assists in a career-high 70 contests last season to rank sixth on the Flyers, who finished 14th in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

The defenceman was a healthy scratch for the final five games under coach John Tortorella, with Philadelphia going as far as playing one defenceman short rather than dressing him.

“Do I agree with it, what happened in the last five games? Absolutely not,” he told reporters after the season. “I think it’s ridiculous that I didn’t play in the last five. But he’s the coach of the team. It’s not my job to decide that.”

The Flyers tried to earlier send DeAngelo back to Carolina, but the NHL said no because it was less than a year since he was dealt from the Hurricanes to the Flyers and the deal would have included salary retention.

Drafted 19th overall in the first round by Tampa Bay in 2014, he also played four seasons with the New York Rangers and one with Arizona. He has 199 career points with 154 assists.

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