Adam Fox has been an absolute work horse for the Rangers this season

Adam Fox, currently leading the Rangers in ice time this year, broke onto the scene in a big way for the Rangers last year. In his two seasons in the league, Fox has shown that he can play in a shut down defensive role while also contributing offensively. During his 70 appearances last season, Fox totaled eight goals and 34 assists for 42 points. In addition, he played on the second powerplay unit. Thirteen of his 42 points came in extra man ice time.

And since the start of the 2020-21 season, David Quinn has only leaned more heavily on Fox. He and Ryan Lindgren have solidly held onto top defensive pair duties. With changes to the structure of the top powerplay unit, Fox has spent even more time quarterbacking from the blue line.

While Rangers as a whole have been off to a slower start offensively this year, Fox still manages to make an impact in every game he plays.

The Rangers’ decision to remove Tony DeAngelo from the roster┬áin addition the absence of K’Andre Miller for the last two games and Jacob Trouba for the next 4-6 weeks, has left the Rangers’ defense — especially on the right side — feeling pretty light.

With the situation and Fox’s solid play, he has been logging significantly more ice time than in games past. While Fox has handled things so far, how sustainable is this?

Just how much ice time?

It’s a lot.

Fox is averaging 25:18 in time on ice this season compared to 18:54 last season. Fox’s 379.42 total time on ice is 23rd most of all defensemen in the NHL. This is the case despite some defenseman having appeared in as many as five games more than him this season.

Furthermore, Fox has recorded the third most ice time of all NHL defensemen who have played in 15 games this season.

Player Team GP TOI
1 Brent Burns S.J 15 409.5
2 Drew Doughty L.A 15 400.72
3 Adam Fox NYR 15 379.42
4 John Carlson WSH 15 371.42
5 Charlie McAvoy BOS 15 365.75
6 John Marino PIT 15 352.23
7 Shea Weber MTL 15 351.55
8 Mario Ferraro S.J 15 346.9
9 Jeff Petry MTL 15 328.5
10 Ben Chiarot MTL 15 327.6
11 Mikey Anderson L.A 15 320.57
12 Marc-Edouard Vlasic S.J 15 310.7
13 Ryan Lindgren NYR 15 305.13
14 Jeremy Lauzon BOS 15 295.88
15 Brenden Dillon WSH 15 289

Chart courtesy of Evolving Hockey

To top this all off, in Thursday night’s game against the Flyers, Adam Fox recorded 30:16 in time on ice between regulation and overtime. He also led the team in shifts, recording 30 in total averaging at 1:00 minute.

What to make of the uptick

Fox has clearly been playing extremely well this season. The new defensive system under Jaques Martin has made his role clearer and the defense as a whole has been indefinitely more consistent.

No matter the situation, Fox is a calm, confident presence on the defensive end that helps establish the pace and success in transition play. He absolutely deserves the ice time he is getting and the roles he is serving on the penalty kill and the power play.

Clearly the decline in the available roster players also plays a big part in him seeing so much ice time. As arguably the Rangers most consistent defenseman, the question becomes: will Quinn relying so heavily on a talented young player help or could it eventually hurt him?

Typically, you’d expect that getting big minutes in games is great for a young player, but — especially considering the condensed season — there could be a risk burnout or injury.

If something liked this happened, losing Fox would be absolutely detrimental — especially to the roster in it’s current state.

One would assume that the coaches and staff are all on top of monitoring how Fox is feeling after outings like the one he had on Thursday night. However, it also can be said that any young player that is performing as well as Fox is will likely do and say anything to keep that ice time.

Hopefully there will come a day where the defense won’t have to lean so heavily on Fox. Until then, expect to see a lot more of him — hopefully a healthy version.

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  • more playing time is a positive but also more of an opportunity to nit pick re goals against. like failing to get the puck out on the flyers tying goal or nj goal #3 the other game.

    • So Leetch, Beukeboom, Park, Greschner or Patrick were never on the ice when the other team scored ? You are just looking for things to criticize….what is interesting is how far you have to reach to find those minor complaints…”let he who is without sin….etc.”

  • He’s been our best and most consistent player all season. Certainly has to be a candidate for our next Captain.

  • He’s special, not perfect … hopefully he signs a long term 8 year deal with a team friendly discount — and he’s one of the very few players that I would give a modified NTC to get that discount. Right now as things stand I don’t expect to see Trouba here in a few years.

  • Dave can you (or someone else on the blog) do a breakdown of the defensive zone play last year be this year? Did it change much or are the players executing it more effectively?

  • Work horse is TOI, but Fox has been a dominating D man, on both sides of the ice.

    I wonder how long he can keep it up.

  • Fox is an amazing defenseman. Actually one of kind; not a real big player but very effective in offense and defense. Like all players he makes mistakes but they are minimal for the ice time that he gets

  • Can we please stop with all the insanity over ice time. It wasn’t too long ago that the Rangers had a Defenseman who wasn’t too big, or too fast but logged a hell of a lot of ice time on his way to the Hall Of Fame, his number 2 is in the rafters.

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