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DeAngelo hopes to show he's learned from mistakes

by Mike G. Morreale

TORONTO -- Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo knew the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine was going to be his chance to set the record straight.

Considered by many to be one of the more dynamic point-producing defensemen available in the 2014 NHL Draft, DeAngelo found himself making headlines for all the wrong reasons this season when he was twice suspended for violating the Ontario Hockey League's harassment, abuse and diversity policy.

"At the Combine, I had a chance to tell everyone the type of person I am because I think there might have been some misconceptions out there," DeAngelo said. "I just tried to be honest with every team [during the interview stage] and talked to them and let them get to know me. It was great getting some tips on the hockey side of things; a lot of good people were trying to help."

DeAngelo, No. 14 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 Draft, received an eight-game suspension in February after making "a most inappropriate statement to a teammate" in a Jan. 31 match against the Guelph Storm.

NHL Network analyst Craig Button, a former director of scouting with the Dallas Stars and general manager with the Calgary Flames, doesn't believe the suspensions will keep DeAngelo from being selected near the top of the draft. He had 15 goals, 56 points and led all defenseman in the OHL with 71 points in 51 regular-season games in 2013-14.

"You have to look at what the player is capable of doing and I think he's the best offensive defenseman in the draft," Button said. "I was fortunate enough to be around Sergei Zubov [in Dallas] for a lot of years and he reminds me of Zubov. He can make confident, dynamic plays."

Button acknowledged that he would have expected teams to question DeAngelo about the suspensions.

"We're talking about young people and one thing about young people, and old people, we all make mistakes," Button said. "It doesn't mean that it's a mistake you're going to repeat again or that it excuses the mistake, but you need to learn from the mistake and I think Anthony will learn from this.

"You just want to be satisfied with his response. What happened, how did he learn from it and how did he feel about being suspended."

Upon his return to the lineup following his second suspension, DeAngelo had two goals, one assist and a plus-3 rating to help the Sting snap an 11-game losing streak with a 6-1 win against the Ottawa 67's on Feb. 22.

"Some teams wanted to see how I would react to certain questions and I was expecting that but whatever they asked I was just going to answer honestly to what I believe," DeAngelo said. "Hopefully it went over well. I guess we'll find out soon enough."

The Sewell, N.J., native will find out at the 2014 Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28. He's looking forward to the big day and anticipates having between 100-150 friends and family members in attendance.

"If you're going to remove every single player who's ever made a mistake, you're not going to be left with a lot of players," Button said. "Anthony's experience could be a good lesson for other people with regard to what's tolerable in our society and sport. What was once pushed aside or glossed over is no longer the case. I think not only will Anthony learn from his mistake but others can too. I think that's a positive."


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