The New York Rangers are shaping up to be the next Stanley Cup contending NHL team. They have current stars in Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin. They have young studs such as Kaapo Kakko, Vitaly Kravtsov and Filip Chytil. There are important pieces like Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome. The Rangers also just won the NHL Draft Lottery and get to select superstar Alexis Lafreniere. They are even set in goal with the formidable young duo of Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. Despite all of these assets, the Rangers still lacked a true number-one defenceman. They tried to address this by trading for Jacob Trouba. However, their true defensive ace emerged in Adam Fox.
Adam Fox just finished his rookie season with the Rangers after playing three seasons with Harvard University. Fox’s rights have jumped around the NHL for a while after he didn’t sign an NHL deal with the Calgary Flames and the Carolina Hurricanes. The 21-year-old rookie put up great numbers, scoring 42 points in 70 games. This number should only go up and shows his offensive skills at such a young age. Fox also played the majority of his shifts with Ryan Lindgren, which shows that he doesn’t need an elite defensive partner to be elite himself. Adam Fox will be the New York Rangers’ number-one defenceman for years to come.
Adam Fox’s Offensive Potential
The offensive zone is where Fox shines on the ice. He is a creative playmaker with outstanding skating abilities. He loves to enter the offensive zone with the puck on his stick and use his skating and vision to make a key pass. Fox has great hockey sense as well, and can consistently read defensive coverages and use his skating to exploit them.
The right-shot defenceman showcases incredible advanced stats as well. Fox is the only defenceman on the Rangers to have a positive xGF% (52.64) for this season. He is also the only defenceman to have posted positive Fenwick (52.64) and CorsiFor (51.59) percentages. He also lead all Rangers defenceman in xGF/60 (2.71), xGA/60 (2.44), GF/60 (3.39) and CF/60 (56.71). In fact, Fox finished third overall amongst defenceman in GF/60. While this does show Fox’s all-around ability, it’s Fox’s dominant offensive play that makes him such a remarkable all-around defenceman.
xGF% = expected goals for percentage
xGF/60 = expected goals for per 60
xGA/60 = expected goals against per 60
GF/60 = goals for per 60
CF/60 = Corsi for per 60
Fox’s offensive outputs are quite similar to John Klingberg‘s numbers when he first joined the league. Klingberg first came in at the age of 22 and posted 40 points in 65 games. Both are very offensive-minded defencemen and can play as their team’s number-ones. Klingberg has grown into a great offensive defenceman, who once scored 67 points in a full season. He has since seen a dip in his production but is still a prominent offensive defenseman in the NHL. If Fox’s offensive production becomes what prime Klingberg’s was, then he would be the perfect ace to complement the Rangers deadly forward core.
Adam Fox’s Underrated Defensive Potential
Adam Fox’s defensive impact is consistently underrated. While he is still small and can’t deal with larger forwards, Fox uses his skating to roam the defensive zone and cut off passing lanes. He still has a great hockey IQ in the defensive zone, which allows him to always be in the best position possible to stall the offence and get the puck out. Fox will never be known as a defensive defenceman, but he can lock down his end of the ice if he needs to.
Fox’s underrated defensive ability is very similar to the impact Torey Krug has on the Boston Bruins. While Krug will never be known for his defensive play, he quietly suppresses the opposition just enough to keep the puck out of his net and drive down the ice to showcase his offensive skills. If Fox can mould his defensive game after the even smaller Krug, then he’ll be able to use his high-powered offence the best he can.
Adam Fox’s Transition Game
Another underrated aspect of Fox’s game is in his neutral zone play. He is among the best in the NHL at exiting and entering the zone with the puck. This allows the Rangers to easily set up in the offensive zone and use Fox’s offensive prowess. Fox uses his quick skating and crisp edgework to glide through the neutral zone and avoid all defenders. This is another area where Fox is similar to Krug, as both defenders are great in transition. They use their quick skating and excellent vision to bring the puck through holes in the neutral zone.
Adam Fox brings tons of potential to this New York Rangers’ defensive group. While he doesn’t bring the overall potential of players such as Rasmus Dahlin, Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar, Fox is still shaping up to be a star in this league. These other defencemen are years younger than Fox, giving them much more potential. Fox will be closer to Krug and Klingberg’s impact, who are both star defenceman, just not franchise defencemen.
This still gives Fox a very important role, however. Defenceman such as Krug and Klingberg are still number-one defencemen and are a necessity for any team making a Stanley Cup run. Fox will have a couple stand out seasons that will put him in the Norris conversation, but he won’t have the impact to put him there perennially. Adam Fox brings a ton of potential to the New York Rangers and will be a star on their blueline one day.