Lightning drafts D Anthony DeAngelo 19th overall

The Lightning’s top pick, defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, left, plays in this year’s CHL Top Prospects game in Calgary.
The Lightning’s top pick, defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, left, plays in this year’s CHL Top Prospects game in Calgary.
Published June 28, 2014

PHILADELPHIA — D Anthony DeAngelo grew up in New Jersey a huge Flyers fan, going to countless games at the Wells Fargo Center.

"Any one I could get to," he said.

So DeAngelo, 18, said it would have been "pretty cool" to get picked by his hometown team in Friday's first round of the draft. But after the Flyers passed on him at No. 17, he was thrilled to get drafted by the Lightning at No. 19 with 125 family and friends in the stands.

"It was unbelievable," he said. "A dream come true."

The Lightning considered DeAngelo the most offensively skilled defenseman in the draft with director of amateur scouting Al Murray believing he can run an NHL power play.

More important, the team believes in DeAngelo's character even after he was suspended eight games last year with Sarnia of the Ontario junior league for using a slur to a teammate. Murray wouldn't disclose what the slur was, but he said DeAngelo was up front about it. Murray thinks some of DeAngelo's issues were "blown out of proportion."

"That's definitely in the past," DeAngelo said. "It's been in the past for me for a while. But I still had to explain myself and be honest because teams need to do their homework and not go into it saying, 'It's not a big deal,' because it was a big deal and a mistake. I've learned from it, and I'm ready to change. And I'm going to bring a high-character, high-competitive guy to the organization."

Murray said he and his staff spent more time getting to know DeAngelo than any other prospect in his 20-plus years in scouting and are confident he'll be a "terrific" person and model player.

"Time will tell. Ultimately, we believe in the boy," GM Steve Yzerman said. "He's 18 years old, and he's acted in situations that are unacceptable in society today. We believe he's a good kid, and we're going to give him the opportunity. But we're going to hold him to the expectations of all our players in Tampa. … Any improper conduct won't be tolerated. But he's 18 years old. I was 18 at one point and did a lot of things that wouldn't be considered acceptable today. Kids change, and we expect him to change. We believe he'll change and grow up."

set on 'd': Though Yzerman will likely make more moves this summer, he said he's likely done addressing defense after acquiring Jason Garrison on Friday.

"We'll explore any options," he said. "But I think it'd be really difficult at this point to do anything else."

BACK IN BLUE: Tampa Bay kept chipping away at its remaining restricted free agents, signing D Mark Barberio to a one-year, one-way contract.

Barberio, 24, was a plus-10 with 10 points in 49 games as a rookie last season.

MOVE BACK: Murray said the team decided to move back into the second round, trading the 28th overall pick to the Islanders to get Nos. 35 and No. 57, because it was confident it could get a similar player at 35 as it could at 28 plus it added a pick. It has seven picks today in Rounds 2-7.