#AfterAuston: Adam Fox

Since his days of sniping on Chinese invitational teams, Adam Fox has grown a bit – but not much. Despite his 5-foot-10-inch and 185-pound frame, Fox had a fantastic year with the USNTDP, setting a program record for most points by a defenceman in a single season and scoring at a near point-per-game pace.  

A name I’ve heard used in comparison to Fox is Shayne Ghostisbehere. While comparing Fox to Calder nominee Ghostisbehere may be a bit of an overshot, Fox’s elite offensive skill is at least worthy of a conversation.

In our next #AfterAuston draft profile, we will be taking a look at Adam Fox, and whether or not he should be of interest to the Leafs.  

QUALITATIVE

Fox is an elite playmaker and an elite passer, his fantastic vision allows him to make a great first pass.  He is a very smart hockey player; he makes good offensive decisions under pressure and is rarely pushed off the puck, despite his small frame.  He is able to make simple passes but also has the ability to make difficult and flashy passes when necessary.  Fox always has his head up and knows exactly where to position himself in order to maximize offense for his team.  His shot is accurate and he has a quick release.  Fox is often seen jumping into the rush and is very good in transition play.  He is a good skater and his pivots are excellent.  

Fox is also considered a power play specialist.  He anchored the blue line for the U18’s this season and did so effectively.  He can control the top end of the offensive zone well, setting up and creating fantastic opportunities on the man advantage.

Take a look at Fox’s impressive highlights from his time with the US U18 team this past season:

Flashy highlights aside, here’s what ESPN’s Corey Pronman had to say about Adam Fox:

He has big­ time offensive upside and some of the best offensive tools among the draft ­eligible defensemen. Fox can control the play very well in all three zones, shows great patience, creativity and vision, and creates space well with his puck skills…  Fox has shown some improvement defensively, but that remains a big issue in his game… He is a high­ risk player at times, trying to do too much, and he can pass the puck to the other team more than you’d like.

At 5’10, Fox is considered to be undersized in terms of draft eligible defencemen.  Though Fox’s offensive game is one of the best amongst defencemen in his draft class, his defensive capabilities need significant improvement.  He can seem lost in his own zone at times, often hesitating and second guessing his decisions.  

QUANTITATIVE

Take a look at Fox’s stats from the past few seasons:

0.92 PPG as a defenceman with the USDP is already remarkable, and tallying 50 assists in 64 games is outstanding in itself.  Fox’s game should transition well into professional leagues.  Though only a small sample size, his NHLe for his 25 game span in the USHL equates to 18.6 NHL points.  

Here is how Fox ranked across different draft sources:

Source  NHL CS 

(NA Skaters) 

McKeen’s  Future Considerations  Corey Pronman  Craig Button

The Draft Analyst

Fox’s Ranking 50  27 36 31 38 27

Fox did not crack many people’s top 30, leading me to believe he’s flying under the radar of many scouts. NHL Central Scouting may not be the most reliable source to examine when trying to determine Fox’s value and draft position; rather, his skill should place him far closer to the low-to-mid 30s range.   

SHOULD THE LEAFS BE INTERESTED?

Though there are some glaring holes in Fox’s game, his offensive capabilities are too good to be ignored.  I would definitely encourage the Leafs to take a flyer on him at the very least.  His defensive game certainly could use some work, and adding muscle to his frame could further improve his strength on the puck. Despite the negatives, Fox has the capacity and skill to become a lethal offensive defenseman and power play specialist in the NHL.  

Fox’s pre-draft ranking/situation reminds me a lot of the Jeremy Bracco selection from last year’s entry draft. Bracco, an undersized forward at 5’9, had an excellent season with the US U18’s, scoring 94 points in 64 games and breaking the record for most assists in a single season.  Bracco was selected 61st overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2015 NHL entry draft.  Fox, an undersized defenseman at 5’10, had an excellent season with the US U18’s, scoring 59 points in 64 games and breaking the record for most points by a defenceman in a single season.  The Leafs also currently hold the 61st selection of the 2016 NHL entry draft. Hmmm…

Fox may be an appealing player to the Leafs personnel.  He practically screams “draft slide”.  Should he fall, I would be thrilled to see the Leafs pick him up. 

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