NY Rangers lines tonight: Adam Fox returns
May 6, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Rangers would not be where they are in the standings, in a spot to win the Metro Division, without defenseman Adam Fox. Igor Shesterkin may be the Rangers automatic representative for the 2023 All Star Game, but it has been Fox that has carried the Rangers on his back this season. Whenever the Rangers have needed big goals or plays, it’s been Fox that has made it happen. No disrespect to the other Rangers, notably K’Andre Miller (who has been ridiculously good too), it’s Fox that has carried the Rangers.

As it stands today, Fox is fourth in defensive scoring with 9 goals and 44 points through 43 games. He trails Josh Morrissey (8 goals, 45 points, 43 games), Rasmus Dahlin (13 goals, 48 points, 40 games), and Erik Karlsson (13 goals, 56 points, 44 games). Norris Trophy voting is difficult to predict, given it’s the PHWA that votes for the award. Generally it has come down to the two highest scoring defensemen and one of Victor Hedman or Drew Doughty.

The Norris, by definition, is awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” The key part is all-round ability. For some reason, that has changed to simply the defenseman with the most points, and it gets away from the definition of the award.

This is admittedly an incomplete comparison, both with the players involved and using simply points and RAPM charts –which minimizes overall team performance impact– to analyze. However, it does paint a picture to see who is actually a complete all around player and who is simply providing offense. For example, Morrissey and Karlsson simply don’t have good defensive numbers.

Of these four, Fox is the clear best all around player, even if he is fourth in counting stats. Like many prefer to say, defense is more than points, and it should matter in the voting. Fox has been the best all around player of this quartet this season. Voters also seem to love the whole playoff narrative, which would eliminate Dahlin and Karlsson. Low and behold, we are left with Fox as the overall best this season who is also in the playoffs.

Again, this isn’t a perfect comparison. There are other names, like Hampus Lindholm, who haven’t even been mentioned by mainstream media. Fox has been the Rangers best skater this season, and it isn’t even close. He’s also showing up in big moments for a team that appears to be a virtual lock for the playoffs. It’s not clear cut, but Fox is making his case for another Norris Trophy this season.

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