Roadrunners name GM; DeAngelo’s former coach heaps praise

Jul 20, 2016, 11:36 AM

Anthony Deangelo pulls on a Tampa Bay Lightning sweater after being chosen 19th overall during the ...

Anthony Deangelo pulls on a Tampa Bay Lightning sweater after being chosen 19th overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Coyotes hired Doug Soetaert on Wednesday to serve as the general manager of the Tucson Roadrunners, the club’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate.

Soetaert spent last season as the Coyotes’ western professional scout after working in Europe as the head scout for Red Bull Hockey for two seasons. Soetaert was responsible for scouting all of Europe’s pro leagues, covering the American Hockey League and evaluating all possible free agents. He worked with Red Bull Munich (DEL) during the 2014-15 season and with Salzburg (Austrian Hockey League) in 2013-14.

“This is a great opportunity for me to work with (GM) John Chayka and (coach) Dave Tippett in managing our new AHL team in Tucson,” Soetaert said. “Our focus in Tucson will be on development and winning and we are confident that our fans will enjoy watching our exciting and talented team. I also look forward to working alongside head coach Mark Lamb and assistant coach Mark Hardy, who bring vast coaching experience to the organization.”

From 2002-2012, Soetaert served as the vice president and general manager of the Everett Silvertips (WHL). Under his direction, Everett won three U.S. Division titles, a Western Conference championship and a Scotty Munro Trophy for the league’s best record. Soetaert left Everett during the 2005-06 season to join the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate in Omaha, where he was the president of the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and assistant general manager of the Calgary Flames. In addition, Soetaert served as the executive vice president for the Kansas City Blades (IHL) from 1990-2001. He served as the Blades’ head coach for the 1990-91 season.

The Edmonton native played 12 seasons in the NHL as a goalie with the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens. He appeared in 284 games and went 110-104-42 with a 3.97 goals against average. Soetaert won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Canadiens in 1986. The Rangers selected him in the second round (30th overall) of the 1975 NHL Draft.

The hiring comes two days after the Coyotes named Brian Sandy as president of the Roadrunners, while also naming Tom Callahan as the Roadrunners’ director of media relations/radio play-by-play broadcaster, Mark Iralson as director of game operations and Bob Hoffman as director of sales.

DeAngelo’s former coach: ‘This is a special offensive guy’

The Coyotes took what general manager John Chayka described as a calculated risk when they opened Day 2 of the NHL Draft by acquiring defenseman Anthony DeAngelo from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Arizona’s 2016 second-round draft pick (37th overall).

DeAngelo (5-foot-11, 173 pounds) is a highly coveted right-handed shot and boasts excellent skills that could one day run a power play. He was Tampa’s first-round pick in 2014 (19th overall) and had six goals and 43 points with Syracuse of the AHL last season, but red flags were raised when the Lightning was willing to trade a first-round pick so quickly.

DeAngelo was a healthy scratch eight times last season due to performance and attitude issues. Two years ago in juniors at Sarnia (OHL), he was suspended twice for verbal abuse of a teammate and an official.

Both the Coyotes and DeAngelo have chalked it up to immaturity, but one of DeAngelo’s former coaches added weight to those sentiments by echoing them.

“I’ve got a real soft spot for that kid,” said former Coyote Trevor Letowski, who coached DeAngelo for four years with Sarnia of the OHL, the last two as the Sting’s head coach. “He’s been through some things and he reached out to me for some advice when he got traded.”

“He gets himself into trouble sometimes because he’s ultra competitive. In Sarnia, we weren’t that good so he’d take it hard and he had a tendency to lash out at his teammates. I think those are things hopefully he can grow out of.”

Letowski noted that DeAngelo needs to add weight before he can compete in the NHL, but he believes the Coyotes acquired an exceptional talent.

“This is a special offensive guy, no question about it,” Letowski said. “When you watch him play, his head is up and he is so creative. He’s a very exciting player and there’s a lot upside.

“When kids are that young, they don’t always know what to do, but with me being a former player, he really respected that because he knows I’ve been through it so I hope I was able to help him and I think it’s encouraging that he knows the areas he needs to change.”

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Roadrunners name GM; DeAngelo’s former coach heaps praise