South Jersey native and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman, Tony DeAngelo, will most likely be on his way out once the 2022-23 season is officially over. Since trading Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers have been searching for somebody to replace him on the blue line. Ronnie Attard, a 6’3″ right-handed offensive defenseman has been patiently waiting and developing. Attard has an impressive resume ranging back from his college years. If there ever was a good time to call him up, this would be the year.
Chuck Fletcher is gone and so is part of the old regime. Danny Briere and Keith Jones, with the full support of Comcast, are looking to get the Flyers back into relevancy. That means leaving the old ways behind and joining the rest of the NHL with how teams are built now. Watching teams like Carolina, Vegas and Florida shows you just how far behind the Flyers building blocks were from the rest of the league. It was almost like trying to fit the square block into the circle hole. Push it all you want, it won’t go in.
Tony DeAngelo isn’t the first square block that the Flyers previous management tried to fit into this system. Erik Gustafson was another offensive defenseman they tried to fill a hole. This one was more for Matt Niskanen, but nevertheless, it doesn’t work. This rebuild was something that has been needed for quite some time. The Flyers have some really nice pieces in place, but what about a right-handed defenseman?
The answer is already in house. Ronnie Attard is the next defenseman prospect to most likely get the call up. Head coach John Tortorella loved what he brought to the team last preseason and gave him a look. Letting him develop a year in the AHL is not a bad thing. In fact, Attard played on the US Men’s team for the IIHF World Championship as well.
In this past season in the AHL, Attard played in 68 games, scoring 12 goals and assisting on 20 goals. That is about where Attard has sat in his career in college. In 2022, Attard was the NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year and was a finalist for Player of the Year. Attard also notched an appearance on the ACHA All America West Team and the NCHC First Team. He held Offensive Defenseman of the Year in 2021 as well. This bodes well for the Flyers moving forward trying to develop talent, especially a right-handed shot on the blue line.
While DeAngelo still had 11 goals and 31 assists, he had -27 +/-. DeAngelo was also in Tortorella’s doghouse at the end of the season. While he is the type of player you need for the playoffs, he just doesn’t fit the timeline and there are just too many prospects who deserve a chance. I am unsure what you can get for DeAngelo, but I would take a fifth round pick for him.
Nevertheless, an offensive defenseman is missing on the blue line and Attard could be the Gostisbehere replacement. Whether Attard would be paired with a Rasmus Ristolainen or Nick Seeler, I just don’t know if Travis Sanheim will be here long enough for them to get comfortable together. Torts, Briere and Jones will make the right moves for this team, and it makes me sleep a little better knowing that there are people at the top just as passionate as the fans running this organization.