Players

Adam Fox is elite

But somehow not a Norris candidate...

Adam Fox, fresh off his five assist performance last night, is an elite defenseman. And no, it is not too early to have this conversation. Fox is everything we hoped Ryan McDonagh could become at the height of his powers. Fox has not only impressed by the underlying numbers, but has been absolutely mesmerizing to watch this season from an eye test perspective.

From his ability to keep the puck in the offensive zone, both at even strength and the power play, and his ability to thread pucks through multiple defenders to wide open teammates, he has been tremendous in everything he does. There were moments last season where you could see the raw skill and hockey IQ. That was really just scratching the surface of what we are seeing from him in his sophomore season.

He is only 23, and that should scare any organization who plays the Rangers regularly. As far as his hockey IQ is concerned, it starts with his sense to know when to pinch and when to stand pat at the blue line. He also excels at deciding when to shoot, when to pass, and selling the opposite to defenders. He does all those things though in such a confident and different way that he just brings you out of your seat with every decision. We really are seeing the second coming of Brian Leetch all of these years later.

All of this shows up in his on-ice metrics. These are just a graphical depiction of how good he is on the ice. And we don’t really need them to see how good he is. His March has been nothing short of incredible for a defenseman as well. He has a line of 2-14-16 in just 12 games this month, including his current five game point streak. He’s averaging over 23 minutes of TOI per game too. He’s truly become the elite 1RD the Rangers have needed.

Fox’s isolated impact, taking away the quality teammates he’s been playing with, shows it’s not just those guys either. This is all Fox. He’s the play driver. He’s the one that makes everyone go. Adam Fox is an elite powerplay QB, taking that role and running away with it from Tony DeAngelo. He is a key part of the Rangers penalty kill, and he is a net positive in all situations when on the ice.

So why can’t this man get into the Norris conversation? Blame the fact the Rangers aren’t a contender. We really get to watch Adam Fox develop and blossom into a legit number one defenseman so early into his NHL tenure. Remember when people were upset that it cost two second round picks to get him in 2019? Man, were people ever silly.

Follow me on Twitter @TylerRichard93

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  • Tough to argue against the facts. He is producing offensively and plays a smart defensive game. Can easily be considered one of the best D-men in the conference.

    • How quickly people forget. There was much criticism at the time of the trade that the Rangers should have simply waited a year and try to sign Fox as a free agent. They claimed the Rangers gave away 2 picks due to impatience!

      • Aye … and the counterargument was he gets an additional year of development (otherwise he would have stayed in college for another year) and a bird in hand is better than waiting for a bird (stranger things have happened with guys you’re SURE will sign with you as a free agent).

        Looking back at that trade, he’s worth 2 1st round picks!

      • Tommy G I well remember the criticism and I was one who thought it as well. What a mistake! Have to give JG and staff kudos…he and his scouts have pulled off some amazing deals to include Mika, Panarin, Trouba and Fox!

  • McDonagh was an excellent player here not his fault he was saddled with Girardi as his defensive partner and AV as his coach. That said, Fox is a monster.

  • If I remember correctly, Gorton got Fox from Carolina for a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick? Or two 2nd rounders. Whatever, it was a steal.

    • The original trade was Fox for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. However, there was a clause that if Fox played more than 30 games with Rangers, then the 3rd would upgrade to another 2nd round pick. He activated the clause so the final cost to the Rangers was two 2nd round picks.

    • It was a second and a conditional 3rd I believe that turned into a second if he played a certain amount of games

  • I am amazed at how he handles the puck in close with guys on him. He touches the puck like a surgeon with the speed of an F1 driver.

    crazy like a _ _ _

    yep that just happened.

  • Yes Tyler, Fox is elite. Good fact based article that simply matches what we’ve been seeing for 100 games now. Makar and Quinn Hughes bias squeezes Fox a little. But he’s too good not to win the Norris someday. Fox is better defensively, IMO, than those 2 guys too.

  • 1. NHL trophies are stupid, who cares who wins them, except for the Cup. And as far as the Norris, it is completely based on longevity and reputation. Fox will likely not even be in the conversation for the award for another 2 seasons, when he’ll be 25. That’s why NHL trophies are stupid. Fox will have to swim upstream against years of Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes hype to win when their turn to win rolls around.

    2. Simply because Fox is elite at the moment, doesn’t mean he has surpassed former Ranger captain and Cup winner Ryan McDonagh as a Ranger. It’s a cheap shot at Mac’s expense that isn’t entirely justified—Mac is a better skater than Fox, and was more physical early in his career than Fox is now. McDonagh was a heart and soul Ranger, absolutely no part of his Ranger career deserves anything but the highest respect.

    3. The Leetch comparisons are really unjustified. Leetch was a lefty, a better skater, a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner, and he was the last NHL defenseman to register 100 points. Leetch was a goalscoring defenseman too, don’t forget—a five-time 20-goal scorer. While Fox is a terrific player, he’s 30 games deep into his second season. Ease up on the hype, BSB, drink some decaf or something.

  • Agreed. With no disrespect meant toward Adam Fox, it is a bit early in the young man’s career to equate him with Ryan McDonagh and Brian Leetch who were both very different, long time players and captains for the team. McD was a physical presence who could punish the opposition in addition to his skills, and Leetch was a scoring machine who was the wind. Tyler’s bit of hyperbole is, however, understandable because Fox is pretty terrific and as smart as they come.

    • I took Tyler’s comment as being about extent of impact. But yeah, drill-down, point-by-point comparisons always get harder the more one really thinks about them.

  • I agree that trophy voting can be ridiculous. The lack of intra-divisional play doesn’t help Fox, being newer on the radar to most (if he’s on the radar at all, in some cases).

  • hah maybe if he keeps his points total closer to old man doughty (and the mighty neal pionk!) he’ll get more looks from the PHWA dum-dums

  • Like I said the other day, it’s outright Ranger bias.

    Fox is, easily, a top 10, if not top 5 D man. People talk about Hughes, but I play better D than he does.

  • Good thing they give these awards out after the season. If he continues playing the way he has so far this season I suspect he’ll at least be in the conversation — especially if he continues putting up the points as he’s been doing of late. That said, Hedman is going to win.

  • Fox was a big surprise; a smaller defenseman that didn’t rely on size and physicality to get the job done. He’s smart and a great skater. Strong on both ends of the ice. Turned out to be an excellent trade. He’s on his way to being an elite player.

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