Keep, Buyout or Trade Tony DeAngelo

Chuck Fletcher’s “aggressive retool” approach to the 2023 offseason started and ended with acquiring defenseman Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for three draft picks. Needless to say that experiment hasn’t panned out and the future of the 27-year-old defenseman is in limbo.

If only someone could’ve predicted that this guy wasn’t going to be very good.

Anyway, he’s got one year left on his current contract at a $5 million cap hit and it has led many to speculate what exactly the Flyers could do with him. Some have suggested a buyout, some say trade him, and others say let him work though his issues and give him another crack again next season.

So which is the best option?


Considering DeAngelo only has one year left on his deal at a $5 million cap hit, his buyout naturally wouldn’t be that bad.

According to CapFriendly, the Flyers would save $3.33 million next year and be in the hook for $1.6 million for the next two seasons.

It’s a number that should be negligible, but considering the cap still isn’t rising until next year at the very earliest and Chuck Fletcher got the Flyers stuck close to the ceiling, that supposedly minuscule $1.6 million hanging on for an additional season doesn’t really make a ton of sense.

The Flyers are going to have to re-sign Owen Tippett and Carter Hart in the summer of 2024. Two very expensive players and very few dollars to make it happen. Committing $1.6 in dead cap when there’s nobody naturally coming off the book between now and then is going to annoyingly apply even more pressure financially than what’s already there. A buyout is always a worst case scenario move, and in this case seems to be overkill for the situation.


A trade is an interesting option. DeAngelo didn’t have a good season by any stretch, but he did post 11 goals and 42 points in 70 games with half of them coming on the powerplay. And he did show that last season in Carolina he can be carried to a decent showing if the team’s defensive structure is up to snuff.

The thing that could help the Flyers out here is the fact that the 2023 free agent pool for right-handed defenseman is pretty poor. Matt Dumba, Damon Severson and John Klingberg highlight the class. All of which are very “meh” and are going to demand dollars and term that some teams may not want to dole out.

DeAngelo comes with limited financial cost and only a one-year commitment.

Some fans have noted that retaining cash on DeAngelo during the offseason would eat up one of their three retention slots for the remainder of the season and could theoretically tie their hands at some point down the line, which is a semi-valid concern, but looking into the future, there doesn’t appear to be much of a issue from that stance.

There isn’t a single notable expensive player on the roster set to hit UFA status in 2024, thus the retaining cap at the deadline strategy doesn’t really make much of a difference.

There are other players on the roster the Flyers are going to have to possibly contend with dealing away this summer in Kevin Hayes and Cam Atkinson who may have to have some of their cash retained if trade is crafted, especially Hayes; but even if Hayes and DeAngelo both get moved in the offseason and have to have a portion of their cap retained, there’s still one open slot for the trade deadline for any potential deal, but as noted there isn’t one that eye-poppingly stands out as of yet.


The theory behind keeping DeAngelo certainly isn’t because he’s a good player or even better guy, it’s because from the Flyers’ stance, their best chance from dealing him with the leverage on their side would be at the 2024 trade deadline. There would definitely be some team willing to bite on a right-shot powerplay guy at the deadline if he stays of a 40+ point clip.

Given the newly pushed “rebuild” interim GM Danny Briere has been preaching, it seems like the smartest play if they’re interested in garnering assets. Though in the process, they take away a roster spot from one of their young defenseman who would be looking to crack the main roster. Developing the kids should by far take priority over trying to (once again) rehab DeAngelo’s value.


It seems worth noting that there have been a lot of players this season that have ended up in John Tortorella’s doghouse at some point or another for a game or two, but after their slap on the wrist they get right back out there and are usually better because of it.

Not DeAngelo.

He’s been scratched for four straight games (possibly five by the time you’re reading this) and Torts has seemingly dodged all questions as to why.

DeAngelo has a pretty notable track recored when it comes to not playing well with others, especially when both his play sucks and the team around him isn’t very good. It’s very possible something happened behind the scenes that burned his bridge in Philly that just wasn’t in the public eye the way his meltdown with the Rangers was.

Tortorella isn’t scratching this guy for no reason. He went to bat for DeAngelo’s lackluster play many of times throughout the season, so it doesn’t really make sense that he just gave up on him entirely late in the season without explanation as to why.

At the end of the day, the writing on the wall seems to suggest that DeAngelo won’t be returning to the Flyers next season, which is a good thing. The organization has Ronnie Attard, an offensive defenseman RHD, who will more than likely be more successful than DeAngelo at 1/5 the cost.

While a buyout is relatively painless in the grand scheme of things, they really should consider a trade first and foremost, even if it means retaining half his salary to do so. They did give up second, third and fourth round picks last summer to acquire the guy, and while there’s no way they’ll get that in return this summer, recouping at least a third or fourth rounder is better than paying him $1.6 million next season when they don’t have to.

Acquiring Tony DeAngelo will go down as Chuck Fletcher’s last big brain move that backfired spectacularly and the next GM will have to deal with it. It does seem less and less likely that the Flyers are going to be able to move DeAngelo without retaining at least some money, and if that’s the case, biting the bullet and retaining a bit of cash in exchange for recouping a draft pick may just be the most painless solution considering how the situation has devolved.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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