When the New York Rangers face off against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Qualifying Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, defenseman Adam Fox will be the deciding factor that will give the Blueshirts the series win.
Fox was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes for two draft picks on April 30, 2019. The Harvard standout from Jericho, Long Island was a life long Blueshirts fan with his parents being season ticket holders.
The defenseman made the team out of training camp and has matured into a seasoned veteran over his first season as a professional hockey player. He has always been a smart player on the ice, calm in his decision making and quick to adapt to what is going on around him.
The defense position is probably the toughest position to get acquainted with when a player comes to the NHL. Fox’s transition is more impressive since he never played a minute in the AHL.
The Numbers Speak For Themselves
When the NHL paused its regular season., Fox found himself in the Calder Trophy conversation. The trophy is given to the NHL’s Rookie of the year and the 22-year-old is worthy of the consideration.
Fox was third in points by a rookie blueliner (42) behind Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes (53) and Colorado’s Cale Makar (50). He was tied for second in goals scored with Hughes, they had eight each, but what carried Fox is the trust his team had in him in big moments.
His 18:54 average time on ice is seventh among all Rangers players and third among defenseman. His game greatly improved when head coach David Quinn paired him with Ryan Lindgren.
The dynamic duo gave the Rangers a one-two punch the team hasn’t seen since former Ranger Dan Girardi played with Marc Staal.
Rangers veteran Chris Kreider had this to say about Fox’s game to Alex Prewitt of SI.com, “His ability to slow it down is really impressive, how he manipulates [opponents] to create time and opportunity for himself and his teammates.”
Fox displayed his patience in a game against the New York Islanders, Fox, moving across the blue line tricked Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier into taking away the middle of the ice before dashing down the boards, and taking a shot past goalie Semyon Varlamov.
“It’s really important for me to take that extra second,” Fox went on to say “something that wasn’t there might be there. Or something that was there might close … Growing up, I was never the biggest guy, never the fastest guy, never had the hardest shot, but always thought the game at a pretty high level. I think that’s always helped me.”
Carolina Will Be Waiting
The story being told in front of our eyes has so much potential. The kid that spurned the Hurricanes now can be a deciding factor in a short five-game series.
This won’t be an easy task. This obviously will be his first taste of the NHL playoffs and with his partner Lindgren also in the same situation Carolina will look to do what many teams have been unable to do over this unusual season. They will try to force the rookies into making mistakes primary in their own end of the ice.
The speed of the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be ten-fold of a regular-season game. Fox will need to keep his head on a swivel knowing the ‘Canes will be gunning for him nit just because of his skill, but because he forced Carolina to trade him to the Blueshirts.
Fox has already earned the respect of his teammates and coaching staff. Now he will earn the respect from the rest of the NHL on a national stage. Fans in the stands or not, the young defenseman will continue to grow and become a feared player by whoever stands in front of him.
A smart player with a great knowledge of where he is on the ice, along with great hands will kee Ranges fans on the edge of their seats.
This sounds like a story we have heard before. A guy named Brian Leetch had the same potential in his rookie year. Fans can only hope to see #23 hoist the great Cup over his shoulders the same way #2 did in 1994.
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