New regime won’t bring change to Tony DeAngelo’s Rangers status

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Regarding the Rangers, who deserved a more sanguine and respectful ending to their season, which will come to a conclusion late Saturday afternoon in Boston with a shadow squad on the ice:

DeAngelo has existed in a shadow purgatory, officially on the Blueshirts’ taxi squad, but skating on his own at rinks close to his home since being waived through the league on Feb. 1 in the aftermath of his post-game imbroglio with Alexandar Georgiev two nights earlier. It was made clear by president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton, who held those offices at the time, that the 25-year-old defenseman had played his last game as a Ranger.

That was an organizational decision that became organization policy. Chris Drury, who assumed the dual role of president-GM on Wednesday, is not about to overturn it.

DeAngelo has one year remaining on his contract at a $4.5 million cap hit. That has not been accounted for in any 2021-22 projection. Beyond that, if the Rangers do bring him back, a year from now they would be obligated to give DeAngelo a qualifying offer for no less than that $4.5 million for the following season or cut him loose as a free agent.

On the other hand, a buyout (assuming No. 77 is not selected by Seattle in the expansion draft) would cost the Rangers $383,333 against the cap for next season and $833,33 for 2022-23.

Plus, the Rangers have Nils Lundkvist and Braden Schneider on the way to fill the right side of the defensive depth chart.

So, there will be no reprieve for DeAngelo, who will presumably be on the open market in late July.

But it gets even worse than that. Because the Rangers’ 46.6 last season ranks 652nd on the list and the Blueshirts’ 46.9 in 2018-19 ranks 636th.

Understand, the last three years have been the fourth-worst, 34th-worst and 50th-worst of the last 23 NHL seasons.

Ranked last in the league this year, the club was next-to-last each of the preceding two seasons. The Rangers have not finished better than 20th in the league since 2012-13. What in the world?

Of the 123 players in the league who have taken at least 300 draws this year, Mika Zibanejad ranks 102nd at 46.4 percent, Kevin Rooney ranks 108th at 44.9 and Ryan Strome ranks 112th at 43.5. Brett Howden and Filip Chytil, who fall short of the qualifying number of faceoffs, are at 46.6 and 41.6, respectively.

And Zibanejad, whatever the explanation might be, has seen his effectiveness at the dots decrease every season that he has been a Ranger. No. 93 has gone from 52.0 percent his first season on Broadway in 2016-17, to 50.8, to 49.6, to 49.2, to this year’s 46.4.

This rather startling deficiency must be addressed by Drury. We’re told that the team works on faceoffs either before or at the end of practices on a daily basis, but clearly more focus on the issue is required.

There is a crying need for an organizational faceoff instructor, someone who has succeeded at the dots on the NHL level and would work daily with the centers at the varsity level. Hiring an assistant coach with that skill-set is a box Drury needs to check.

The 1943-44 Rangers finished the season on a 21-game winless streak, 0-17-4, but that was not wholly out of character for the club that went 6-39-5 overall.

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