The Carolina Hurricanes have had one of the most valuable defensive contracts in the league this season with Tony DeAngelo, signing him to a one-year, $1MM deal after his public exit from the New York Rangers. DeAngelo has been brilliant for the Hurricanes, racking up 40 points in 43 games while averaging close to 20 minutes a night. One of the most effective powerplay quarterbacks in the league, 15 of his 31 assists have come with the man advantage. Carolina will have to find a new player to run PP1, though, as DeAngelo will miss about a month with an injury according to head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who spoke with reporters including Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer.
For now, DeAngelo’s regular partner Jaccob Slavin has taken over the quarterback duties on the top unit, with Ethan Bear joining the second group. Slavin is a capable player but there should be at least some concern about him taking over the majority of the powerplay time, given how important he is in other areas. There’s no one in the league that has logged more short-handed ice time than Slavin, who has close to 170 minutes on the penalty kill through 48 games this season. Teams have scored just seven goals against the Hurricanes during that time, showing just how effective he is at it.
With that in mind, losing DeAngelo could have a sort of cascade effect on the Carolina blue line, putting players in spots that they aren’t perfectly suited for, or taxing the best defensive players even further. Brett Pesce has joined Slavin on the first pair, while Jalen Chatfield slides in beside Brady Skjei on the second. That’s certainly not a perfect situation, and one that will likely lead to more speculation as the trade deadline approaches. If DeAngelo is out for a month he might miss up to 14 of the team’s remaining 32 games, meaning a defensive addition may be necessary just to shore up the depth.
Of course, Carolina is one of many teams operating in long-term injured reserve relief space–this time afforded by Jake Gardiner’s chronic back issues–meaning any addition would have to be carefully determined.