A lot of people were enthusiastic about the Flames’ 2016 draft, and looking back on all the picks they made, it’s pretty easy to see why. They used most of their picks, and collected a fair amount of talent along the way.
Some of that talent came over a 12-pick stretch, as the Flames had picks #54, #56, and #66 in the draft. It’s the last of this group – #66, Calgary’s only third rounder – that’s garnered some of the stronger hype this early on, though.
Adam Fox was in Buffalo when he was drafted: the first Flame to be present after Matthew Tkachuk. The defenceman checks in at #8 in his debut on the FlamesNation Prospect Profile countdown.
A brief history
Fox is listed as a 5’10, 185 lb. right shot. That right shot is going to come in rather helpful, as that’s always coveted in defencemen; the size, he has time to grow into, as he’s only 18 years old.
Quite a bit of time, in fact. Coming out of the U.S. National U18 Team, he’s committed to Harvard. Will he stay all four seasons? Maybe – but the college schedule should work well for him, giving him time to bulk up some while playing against a high quality of opponent.
He’s probably ready. Fox was the highest-scoring defenceman on the U18 team, with 59 points through 64 games; 30 more than runner up Chad Krys (albeit in 11 more games played). Fox was third in overall team scoring behind just seventh overall pick Clayton Keller and 19th overall pick Kieffer Bellows. And Fox was taken in the third round.
With Fox being one of the newest members of the Flames, Tod Button spoke with Pat Steinberg on the Fan 960 after the draft about him.
What’s awesome about Fox?
“Brain, vision and skill. The ability to execute the vision in the brain. He sees things that some people don’t see and his deception and the look-away and the drawing the opponent in to him and then making a penetrating pass to a guy back-door. It’s hard to teach, and he has that.
“We always talk about the smaller defencemen or the smaller player have to have some elite ability. With Johnny it was hockey sense and his ability to not get hit. Fox, it’s his skill, his passing and his brain, it’s elite. The other stuff? We can’t make him bigger, but we can’t make him smarter, either; he’s already got that part.”
Future Considerations scout Scott Wheeler agrees with Button’s assessment.
“There is little doubt in my mind that Adam Fox was one of the more talented defenders in a talented 2016 class of offensive defensemen. Calgary did really well to get him. At FC, we had him ranked 36th in our draft guide, and for good reason. His biggest strength is his skating ability and his confidence with the puck. When other players might put it deep or off the glass, Fox does a wonderful job of evading forecheckers, handling the puck at the offensive zone blueline, or joining the rush with his footwork. He’s also an excellent passer, and does a good job finding teammates in traffic.
“These days, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him stay and graduate at Harvard before making the jump to the pros. But with Fox, a player whose talent will burst through if not as a freshman than as a sophomore, it’s only a matter of time until he’s putting up serious points and forcing the Flames’ hand to make a decision on a potential early exit.”
What comes next?
In the immediate, Fox is definitely going to play for Harvard in the NCAA for the 2016-17 season. He’ll probably be there for 2017-18, too; after that, it could be anyone’s guess. Maybe he advances to a higher level so quickly he’s able to play professionally sooner rather than later; maybe he plays the extra seasons at school to bulk up, or because he genuinely wants (or needs) to.
Read more: Adam Fox is headed to the Ivy League
Either way, he’s going to be an exciting prospect to follow. Sure, he may never be able to play in the NHL, but wouldn’t you rather bet on a guy like Fox and some of the behemoths currently in the Flames’ system?
Fox should have a good shot at representing his country in the World Juniors this year as well. In 2015-16, Harvard’s highest-scoring defenceman was 21-year-old Clay Anderson, who scored three goals and 15 points over 34 games; we’ll see how Fox compares in his freshman year.
|#20 – Ryan Culkin||#19 – Linus Lindstrom|
|#18 – Morgan Klimchuk||#17 – Mason McDonald|
|#16 – Brett Pollock||#15 – Matthew Phillips|
|#14 – Dillon Dube||#13 – Emile Poirier|
|#12 – Brett Kulak||#11 – Mark Jankowski|
|#10 – Brandon Hickey||#9 – Daniel Pribyl|