Now that our healing has begun…and Pez has shown us that it’s ok to love (and write) again… it’s time to continue examining the B’s potential first round draft prospects.
If there’s anything that we learned from Dennis Seidenberg’s knee injury this past year, it’s that German efficiency extends even to the ability to heal oneself. Other than that, Boston was able to showcase a glut of young defensive prospects who performed admirably when pressed into duty. Douglas Hamilton and Torey Krug both built upon their successes in the shortened 2013 season, and Kevan Miller earned a contract extension for his performance in helping to stop the bleeding after the loss of the German Hammer. Matt Bartkowski, David Warsofsky, and Zach Trotman round out those who played with the big club this year. This list – impressive in its own right – doesn’t even include Joe Morrow or last year’s top pick, Linus Arnesson. Lest we forget that Morrow himself was a former first round pick of the Penguins. And while he’s been passed around more than a spliff at a Cypress Hill concert, his future in Boston appears bright.
Because of this logjam of young talent – along with the fact that there are few genuine first round talents on defense this year – we’ve chosen to focus more on forwards. But this one…dim the lights…this one is all about the D.
While there are few first round defensemen, there are even fewer who would fit Boston’s need for an influx of speed and skill. One of these, though, is New Jersey native and OHL standout Anthony Deangelo.
Anthony Deangelo, D
5’10”, 175 lbs
ISS Ranking: 32
Deangelo has actually played three full seasons for the Sarnia Sting, showing himself to be the most talented offensive defenseman in the draft. After a 23 point rookie season (6 g, 17 a), Deangelo has ripped off seasons of 58 (9 g, 49 a) and 71 (15 g, 56 a) points, respectively. Even more impressive was that this past season’s productivity came in only 51 games for a woeful Sarnia team. His talent is undeniable – he has vision, creativity, hands, and tremendous speed/skating ability. While one can knock his frame and point to his need to get bigger, Torey Krug proved that offensive minded guys on the small side can play big. Also, his penalty minutes (and fight clips on YouTube) definitely show he’s not afraid to mix it up, if needed.
So…what’s the catch? Why is the most offensively talented defenseman in this draft ranked so low by the scouting services?
One simple reason: Deangelo is an asshole. Deangelo was suspended not once but twice this season for violating the OHL’s policy regarding harassment and abuse – the second time for an incident INVOLVING A TEAMMATE. Cam Neely is already tired of having to make apologies for his players…even if the incidents prompting those apologies are overblown and non issues. Furthermore, you can easily make the argument that Deangelo has outgrown the OHL – at least from a skills and production standpoint. If he doesn’t make the NHL out of camp this year or next, you’re looking at a kid being returned to junior, where he’ll be bored and might not make the improvements needed to further his career (character, play in his own zone). Articles suggest that Boston is one of the better organizations in which Deangelo could land, as they have the depth and system in place to nurture his development properly.
Deangelo is the classic boom or bust prospect. If he pans out, you’re looking at a Kris Letang-type of player…hopefully minus the strokes. If he doesn’t, you’re looking at a kid who burns out of hockey at 22.
Forgive the quality of the highlights. They make the Zapruder film look like it was shot in 4K.