Thoughts following the Adam Fox trade

Yesterday afternoon, the Rangers bolstered their blue line prospect depth by acquiring Adam Fox from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for their 2019 2nd rounder (#37) and a conditional 3rd rounder next season. If Fox plays 30 games with the Rangers, it will be a 2nd round pick. Fox, a former 3rd round pick from Calgary, is very highly touted and is a local kid from Jericho. Let’s jump right in.

1. There are concerns that the Rangers overpaid a lot for Fox. Here’s the thing though, the chances of the Rangers grabbing a prospect like Fox with either the #37 pick this year or whatever pick next year are very slim. It’s the Blueshirts going for quality over quantity, which is what they need to do at this juncture. After making 30 picks the last three years, they had some to burn. This works for me.

2. Fox is expected to make the team next year, which is probably going to turn that 3rd rounder into a 2nd rounder. The Rangers had the luxury of ensuring that Fox was theirs and would sign with them. The two draft picks are the mystery box. Fox is Fox. Take the established 21 year old defenseman who is likely to make a difference next year. The two picks wouldn’t even sniff the NHL roster for 3-4 years.

3. This is a step in the Jeff Gorton acceleration of the rebuild. It’s not a huge step, but it’s a step nonetheless. Fox is already better than every RD on the roster not named Kevin Shattenkirk, and he may not even be on the roster come the draft. Larry Brooks mentioned that Shatty’s days are numbered, and while he, Fox, and Tony DeAngelo make a solid RD trio, Shatty will likely waive his NMC to play for a contender and chase that Cup. The Blueshirts can eat some salary and get a decent return too.

4. While Fox is an upgrade on the right side, if Shatty is traded it still means that Neal Pionk will be getting meaningful minutes. He may look better on the bottom pair, and may get better results, but he’s still not an NHL quality defenseman. At least not based on the past season. Fox is still better than no Fox, so an upgrade is an upgrade.

5. I mentioned this on Twitter, but I think this takes the Rangers out of the running for Jacob Trouba. A RD trio of Trouba, ADA, and Fox would be stellar, but I think the Rangers view Pionk as a legitimate defenseman, which is just upsetting. The team has a major blue line talent evaluation problem, but at least they got Fox right.

6. Fox, DeAngelo, Libor Hajek, K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Jacob Ragnarsson, Joey Keane, Calle Sjalin (if healthy), Sean Day, Tarmo Reunanen. That’s one helluva list of defense prospects. Not all are going to hit, but there’s significant depth there. The Blueshirts acquired a ton of young assets the past three years. Some are depth guys, but Fox is in the upper echelon of prospects with Miller and Lundkvist.

7. The Blueshirts now have four of the top-50 ESPN top prospects: #11 in Vitali Kravtsov, #30 in Fox, #33 in Igor Shestyorkin, and #37 in Miller. Plus Kaapo Kakko coming in six weeks. The future is incredibly bright on Broadway.

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  • In the past, we saw the Rangers using picks to acquire older players. Here picks were used to obtain a young prospect. There is a world of difference there. I believe it to be a good move by Gorton.

  • Great write up! This was like opening an Xmas present in October. We drafted an NHL ready D man with th 37 th pick plus a conditional. Not saying he’s Trouba but think about what it will take to get him? Then compare returns. Would we have gotten him for nothing next year? Probably, but a year not with the team is something? No? Very happy we have him in the fold. Now let’s get him signed. Maybe we’ll get Kravtsov, Shestyorkin and Fox contracts all announced today. This was a great month for the Rangers!

    • Why did the Rangers make the move now?
      This question was answered by Jeff Gorton who spoke with the New York Post.

      We think Adam is ready to play now. People talk about a year from now, but a lot can happen in a year, or 16 months. That comes with a lot of ‘if’s.’ So for me, it was easy. We wanted him here and we didn’t want to wait. We want to get moving.

      He has unique skill. He makes players around him better. He’s deceptive. He’s elusive. He gets the puck through when he’s trying to find that seam. When a player like that becomes available to us, we’re going to be aggressive.

      They also get 3yrs on his ELC and not 2yrs which is another reason you give up those draft picks.

      Enough with the armchair GM’s who have no idea what they are talking about.

  • Good article, agree with most of it except that Pionk isn’t an NHL d-man, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses his job to Rykov. You also failed to mention Lundgren, who also could be in the line up should the Rangers be lucky enough to trade Staal. Happy days are here folks, and after the draft we will be jumping with joy at the prospect of a very good team for years to come………………..LGR!!!!!!

    • You hit on a key point and I wonder how seriously the Rangers will consider it. You may find a better RH defenseman by converting one of the many LH defenseman than by insisting on a less skilled natural RH guy.

  • Peter

    Very good point, and I hope those days of trading for retreads are over. Nothing like youth, who play to prove a point, instead of some old fat and sassy veteran going thru the motions!!!!!!

  • Dave, how can you summarily state that Fox is better than DeAngelo and not as good as Shattenkirk when this kid hasn’t played one minute of pro hockey? I understand that he scouts like his skill set but this is a player out of the ECAC where his college competition wasn’t exactly stellar.

    I’m not knocking Fox, I’m thrilled we got him. I think he has the POTENTIAL to be great, but he hasn’t done anything yet.

    • Actually my issue with that statement is that ADA is the best d’man on the right side, Shattenkirk is a complete shell of his former self. ADA>KS

      • Shatty was a 3rd pair as soon as Parayako showed up to camp his rookie year. Almost everybody has serious problems assessing D.

        With Fox allegedly being named to the USA WM squad, I guess I’m gonna watch a game or 2 in Bratislava.

        • Reen… How do you think Fox stacks up to Cale Makar? Pretty similar college stats. Different conferences.

          • I got no idea.

            I know Makar was a beanpole his draft year but had skill for miles, that’s about it.

  • Matt

    What’s not to like about Lindgren’s game? He is a stay at home d-man, defense first type of guy, who likes to hit, and plays with an edge. DQ said he wants us to be a tough team to play against, Lindgren fits the bill perfectly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I saw him, along with Hajek in Hershey, and they both showed that they can indeed play the game well. By the way, Lindgren was paired with Fox at the World Jrs, and teamed up very well together.

    • “Defense first” usually means you’re not possessing the puck. Limited upside puck wise. 3rd pair ceiling. I hope he makes it, but think he can easily be squeezed out by the other prospects.

    • Lindgren played with Fox in World Juniors. So maybe we have a D tandem in the making. And their games really balance each other out. We have gotten a lot of talent, but we do need a stay at home D man or two who can defend and make things very unpleasant for other teams. And also be an anchor so the Offensive D man can play their game.

  • From this time last year til now, wow JG! Just Wow!

    And of course a special thanks to Badge #104 as well.


  • If the defense has a bright future, that only gets realized if we can start moving some of the defensemen from last year. Staal isn’t going anywhere, but the rest are fair game. We may actually shock the world and move Skjei as he has more value than anyone else. I do not think we move Krieder, but a deal with Pionk, Skjei and our goalie may actually get us a good return.

  • The team has a major blue line talent evaluation problem, but at least they got Fox right.
    6. Fox, DeAngelo, Libor Hajek, K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Jacob Ragnarsson, Joey Keane, Calle Sjalin (if healthy), Sean Day, Tarmo Reunanen. That’s one helluva list of defense prospects.
    you contradicted yourself inside of 3 consecutive sentences.

    DeAngelo is no prospect, but a project still in need of seasoning/work.
    DeAngelo doesn’t belong in this company anymore than Fox belonging to, or compared to Miller or Keane. There are clear talent and accomplishment dividing lines between this group of defensemen. and you lumped them all together as “one helluva” group – but the team has a major talent evaluation problem?

    I would think the likelihood of Pionk correcting his defensive issues is (extremely) more likely then any of that prospect group becoming steady NHL dmen. It’s just that simple. It’s not nice to hear when your head is in the “play the kids” cloud… but its true and I’m sorry to be that guy. (I’m 100% anti-post-truth era)

    At this point I’ll continue to trust in Rangers management evaluation choices.

    • It isn’t all black and white. One can have a talent evaluation problem and still have positive talent evaluation skills. Dave believes the Rangers are good at finding shiny rocks but not very good at sorting them out. I mostly disagree with Dave’s opinions regarding the defense but they are most certainly not self-contradictory.

    • ‘I would think the likelihood of Pionk correcting his defensive issues is (extremely) more likely then any of that prospect group becoming steady NHL dmen.’

      Thank you for this paragraph as I was the only one thinking this.

      I’m very high on Pionk and believe the Rangers found a diamond in the rough with him. He’s very talented and if you look at the big picture, a guy like him in his position (young offensive slightly undersized d-man) ordinarily goes through what he went through this season in their careers.

      Unfortunately, some are looking at him for where he was drafted and am afraid he’s not going to be baby fed like ADA has been and not get as big a chance here.. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Great article, Dave enjoyed the read. Just wondering though, what happened to the narrative that defense is the toughest position in hockey and takes a lot longer than other positions to learn and excel? I mean, Pionk is only 23, why do we now disbelieve that he can improve? I agree he was not the best last year, but if he can improve on the defensive side,( and why can’t he?) than I think he has the ability to be a good D-man. I don’t think the Rangers should start giving up on youngsters too soon. Remember this is a rebuild.

    • IIRC, there is a basic difference between ADA and Pionk. It’s pedigree. DeAngelo was a first round draft pick and Pionk was an undrafted free agent. One expects DeAngelo to be good whereas the success of a Pionk would be a pleasant surprise. Now first rounders do flop and guys like Dan Girardi build great careers, but that is not what you expect to happen. And when a player like Pionk doesn’t seem to be very good, you simply can’t count on him moving forward.

      The biggest frustration with Pionk though was what appears to be coaching blindness. He was featured as if he were a good player defensively and the Rangers got eaten up when he was on the ice. The one intriguing plus however was that he was the most effective Ranger on the power play – ahead of Zib and Zuc and far ahead of ADA and Shattenkirk.

  • I think we have enough good young defensemen in the system. Can we start to gather some stud forwards? We have absolutely no one in the system who will crack the starting lineup in a year. Kakko and Kraftsov better work out, because behind them is a whole lot of nothing. Look at our AHL team – NOTHING. Gettinger, Fontaine – NADA. Abroad we have Virta and Pajuniemi – no world beaters there. For all those who think Panarin is a bad move, look again. We need offense and Lias can’t bring it. Chytil & Howden are the closest we have to forward who can score – and they still are middle 6 forwards.

    Gorton needs to pull of a monster deal – maybe with a Cap-strapped Toronto team. Get an NHL quality top 6 forward here and maybe we can make the playoffs in a year.

    • Kakko and Kravtsov and you still want more more more … a little greedy there considering you have Mika, Kreider and Buchnevich as a competent 1st line, Put Chytil between those two kids and you have a developing 2nd line. Again, we’re NOT competing for the SC next year, let things grow out a bit. If we make the playoffs so be it, but I doubt it unless we sign a top flight UFA (which I think long term doesn’t make a ton of sense). Besides, they can draft some talented forwards with Winnipeg’s pick, perhaps Dallas’ 1st rounder … otherwise we still have 2 second rounders left to go along with the 2 first rounders.

      • IMO, KZB is the weakest first line the Rangers have had in my time as a Ranger fan. At 5v5, over the last two seasons, this line has been on the ice for 12 goals for, less than one goal for every 30 minutes ice time. Marc Staal has been on the ice for more than one goal every 30 minutes and his stats are skewed by PK duty. KZZ was on the ice for 23 goals in far less ice time and even KZF was decidedly better.

        The picture is less rosy than you paint it, but in support of your point, forwards develop more quickly than defensemen and one needs to work on the defense in earnest first.

        • Ray you must not remember the days of Brandon Dubinsky and Nik Zherdev leading the team in scoring.

          • You do have to realize just how ineffective KBZ has been -12 goals in 380 minutes.

            In 2008-2009, the Dubinsky-Zherdev-Voros line scored 12 goals in 233.4 minutes. Dubinsky and Zherdev actually skated together for 587 minutes with twelve different teammates for at least 90 seconds each and scored 23 goals. The cumulative number is only one goal every 25.5 minutes, not as good as the number with their primary lineman which was better than one goal per 20 minutes — but still better than KZB.

            Fun fact: the KZB line of that year – Korpikoski-Zherdev-Brandon (Dubinsky) was on the ice for 81 even strength minutes during which time the Rangers scored one goal. Of course, that was not the first line, but maybe the initials are just cursed.

      • Our first line scares nobody in this league. You think they are good because they are the best we have, but they cannot hold a candle to the 2nd lines of the Sharks, Toronto, etc. We need REAL offensive studs, that are getting close to elite. Sure Kakko and Kratsov may someday be very good, but let’s let them play a game in the NHL before you tout them as the next coming of the GAG line please.

        • … and yet Toronto didn’t make it out of the 1st round, again … I guess Edmonton’s 1st line is also much better. As far as the Sharks are concerned, when’s the last time they won the SC? Oh right, never. This obsession with so-called ELITE talent, there’s so much more to the game and building a team than having a collection of “elite” talent — just ask Tampa Bay. What you need are a couple of elites surrounded by extremely competent players, not a team full of stars. I would think this point has been made clear year after year.

          • Hey Tant, you are right on, but don’t forget a couple of good leaders. Which any of these kids could be, if given a chance…

    • First off, I agree they could use more elite forward help, but I don’t think Panarin is the answer. Rangers are 1+ year into the rebuild. Panarin would cost too much for a player who is too old. He’ll be on the downside when we are ready to compete and his contract will be an albatross around the Rangers neck. Haven’t we all seen enough of this nonsense? I’m sure there are younger forwards who can help when we are ready. Toronto may well be the place to go, but not Panarin, please!

      • Fundamentally I agree, but if you structure the contract to be expansion bait, I’d be fine with it. No way you give him a NMC/NTC, though. As I’ve written previously, a front loaded, bonus driven 1st 2 seasons with a $11mm AAV is the equivalent of a $12mm deal.

        I’d rather offer sheet Kapanen, but now the concern is that the conditional 3rd next season may keep the team from offering because the 2020 2nd pick has a lien on it.

        • Well, you are clearly above my pay grade on the financials, if that would be the case than maybe I’m in, but what happens if the expansion team doesn’t pick him up?

          • After year 2, the AAV drops to something like $9mm; after year 3 the cash is $8.5mm the rest of the way.

            As long as Panarin is producing, either Seattle or somebody else is beating down the door at 4 Penn Plaza to get him.

      • Panarin is one of the best players in the league and there is no reason to believe that he would not thrive for the next 5 years, at least.

        Other than Zib, there are no consistent 60 pt players on the Rangers.

        • Sorry I just think this signing is too early in the rebuild. Just an opinion, my friend. Too early! When the Rangers are ready, there will be guys available, younger ones, again just my opinion.

          • I respect your opinion pal, but the Rangers will be adding pieces now that are not 20 years old.

            They, as I do, believe that they can make the playoffs next year, with the right moves.

  • Fox is a great pickup, but who is going to be our 2C? If you think we will be good with Chytil/Kraftsov/Kakko as a second line, then we will be rushing these kids to slaughter. Get me some scoring to support our first line.

    Gorton will make us a playoff team next year, watch and see!

    • The East is going to be a beast next year. Struggling to make the playoffs to not compete for the SC may not be the smartest move. Besides, aside from the 8 teams that made the playoffs one should expect Florida and Philly will improve (because of coaching at a minimum, but they also have some good young prospects coming up).

  • Wow we got a shinny new car and now we need a driver. Lets see who will drive this car? Ruff?

    • Lindy for president. DQ better get these kids ready or he might have a short tenure as well. His is the rookie coach who will have no less than 8 players in their first two NHL seasons. Hope he realizes we play to win while we learn.

      When Davidson finally gets here as the real president, he will make a splash by supporting a big move. Trouba AND Karlsson! Krieder, Shatty, Pionk, Vesey, Smith and Georgi all say bye-bye. SHAKE THIS TEAM UP!!!

          • Seems and maybe is crazy, but as I pointed out above, the KZF line has been considerably better than KZB. It is how players complement each other. Forward lines must play defense too. With KZF, the primary defensive responsibilities fall to Fast and Kreider and Zibanejad can be all in in the offensive zone. With KZB, the primary defensive responsibilities fall to Mika and he needs to be more tentative offensively. And I think Fast is better along the boards. Buch is likely better skating the puck but maybe that skill does not complement K and Z as well as some others.

  • Trouba would be very nice. However, the Rangers are 2 to 4 years away from being a legit contender. What the Rangers “should” be willing to offer would be a laughable return for Cheveldayoff. Rangers need to keep Kreider. If the Jets would take Pionk, Day and two of Fast, Names, Vessey or Shatty and a 2nd–or some type of deal like that–sure. However, I think an offer like that has Cheveldayoff hanging up on Jeff.

    I think they have enough prospects and are far enough away from being a true contender that these big trades for P.K. or Trouba or signing Karlsson or Panarin just does not make a lot of sense. Keep the vets they have, let the kids play and make smart, low risk, high character, small terms and dollar amount UFA signings, as needed.

  • While Gorton may have alluded to fast tracking the rebuild, I believe he meant smart, and strong transactions, like the Fox deal. I really don’t believe he means anything like Panarin/Karlsson. That’s just reaching, this is a rebuild and he appears to know what he is doing. I’m going to give him some rope here, I think he deserves it.

  • Agreed, I think Fox is an example of that acceleration. He’s 3 years ahead of any 2019 draft pick aside from probably Kakko.

  • I wouldn’t mind the overpayment in this move as much if JG didn’t tend to overpay in almost every move he makes. That’s my issue. He could’ve at least thrown in one of these d-men he now has to trade anyway. You’re telling me he couldn’t have used someone like Pionk in this deal somewhere and make some space? I don’t believe it. We had so many d-men last year that we still had Smith playing fwd AFTER we traded McQuaid.

    The glut on the blueline needs to be fixed asap. You have no development system in Hartford, a bunch of good prospects, and a bunch of bad contracts in NY. This isn’t something that can take some time to sort out, or they will stunt the development of these prospects. ADA turned in a good second half. But it was somewhat lucky considering the NYR almost totally botched him so they could keep Smith in the lineup for no apparent reason.

    That’s the risk. Maybe Hartford gets better? Maybe not? But you have to make space now or you’re gonna have 1 or 2 of these prospects fizzle out really only because your organization CAN’T develop them properly.

  • Gorton is going to still pursue a trade with the Jets for Trouba, much depends upon what players are being discussed, I do not think it will happen but it might come down whether Gorton is willing to include a top prospect and a current roster player like Kredier if the Rangers and Kredier cannot come to an agreement on a new contract.

    • What’s the point of Trouba, we’re loaded on the Right side now as it is … in fact we have to get rid of Shattenkirk and/or Pionk to open up room in the next couple of years for a kid like Lundkvist as well as to allow Fox and DeAngelo to reach their full potential.

      We should be done with d’men, now it’s a matter of addition by some subtraction — especially on the left side.

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