FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects: #4 Adam Fox

Adam Fox was an intriguing choice when the Flames selected him 66th overall in the 2016 entry draft. An undersized rearguard from Jericho, New York, Fox already had an impressive resume, including the single season points record by an under-18 defenseman in USNTDP. Before he left for college hockey, he sat third in points all time amongst U.S. National Development Team program defenders.

Fox continued to build on those accolades for Harvard in his first college season. In fact, if he continues to develop at his current pace, Fox may become a Gaudreau-level find for the Calgary organization. He jumps up from #8 in our prospect countdown to #4.

A brief history

The jump from the lower tiers to college hockey can be almost as jarring as the jump from minor to pro for some players. That’s why so few freshman tend to have a big impact in the ECAC or NCAA.

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But not only did Fox have an impact, he was one of the leading point getters in the entire league. Although he is a defender, Fox finished seventh in ECAC scoring with 40 points in 35 games. That put him first amongst defenders, with the next highest scorer managing just 33 points in 38 games. Fox was only one of three blueliners to manage more than 30 points in the ECAC last year, and the only one to crack the 40-point barrier.

In fact, if we pull back and consider the entire USCHO (all of U.S. College hockey), Fox still finished as at the top of the ladder for defensemen. Second place was 22-year-old Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher (37 points), who played in eight more games than Fox. Not since Brian Leetch scored 47 points in 37 games back in 1986-87 has an 18-year-old defender had this sort of offensive impact in college.

The plaudits don’t end there for Fox. He made the goal medal-winning World Junior Championship team, where he scored four points in seven games. During the World Junior summer showcase this summer, Fox was one of the more dominant players for the U.S. team, scoring seven points in the last two exhibition games alone. After the tournament, U.S. Olympic coach Tony Granato noted that Fox may even be on the Olympic team’s roster.


College Hockey News’ Mike McMahon raves about Fox’s game.

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This kid is 100% the real deal. There’s really no other way to put it. He was great all year in all three zones, moved the puck great and is a smooth skater. At 5’10, he would have been considered undersized a few years ago, but the way the NHL is moving, a guy with his skillset and his footwork will have a long NHL career.

Nate Owen of USCHO.com also shared his thoughts about the college standout.

Moves the puck very well. It will be interesting to see his development throughout college, and if he can add any size to complement what is already a very good set of skills.

What comes next?

Despite his various accomplishments, Fox is still relatively young. A February 1998 birthday, he won’t turn 20 until midway through his next college season for Harvard, where the bar will be set very high. You can also bank on him returning to the World Juniors, no doubt as a top pairing option and leader for the team. If Fox can replicate or somehow improve on his results from last season, expect to see him in the conversation for the Hobey Baker (and for the Flames to try to get him under contract sooner rather than later).


#20 – Ryan Lomberg #19 – Adam Ollas Mattsson
#18 – Daniel Pribyl #17 – Eetu Tuulola
#16 – Adam Ruzicka #15 – Emile Poirier
#14 – David Rittich #13 – Hunter Shinkaruk
#12 – Matthew Phillips #11 – Jon Gillies
#10 – Morgan Klimchuk #9 – Andrew Mangiapane
#8 – Dillon Dube #7 – Spencer Foo
#6 – Mark Jankowski #5 – Oliver Kylington

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    • idbr

      I agree. I’d go as far as to say he is our #1 prospect. I think the top prospect since JH. When I’m the Flames brass talking to him I tell him. “When you’re ready we will open a roster spot for you on the big team”.

          • Cfan in Van

            “top find since JH”. So value per draft position, since JH was 6th round and fox was 3rd round. Tkachuk is rad, but probably should be relatively rad, given where he was drafted.

        • fumanchu1968

          Yes you’re right. Apologies. I was thinking about the Top under-25 list on another page. Sorry I’m new to this but I’ve cheered for every Calgary team since the Cowboys and Wranglers. I live in a remote area off the pacific coast of Costa Rica and have just gotten connected to the outside world a few years ago.

          I enjoy everybody’s comments on this site. Just trying to be part of it all. I am stoked about the future of our team and I think we’ll be the more successful team in Alberta as we are not putting all our eggs in one basket. Tkachuk is my favourite player and he will one day be our big star to take us to the promised land.

    • McRib

      Fox is clearly our top prospect, this is way too low. The offensive numbers he put up last year were elite, go compare those numbers to Kevin Shattenkirk, etc as a Freshman.

  • freethe flames

    That means that Ras is at least #3. The only real thing missing from our D prospect crew is someone who is miserable around the net. If guys workout our D pairings could be set for quite awhile. Valimaki/Fox/Andersson/Kylington all have such tremendous potential add the younger current guys Kulak(seems to be trending the right way) Brodie expect a big bounce back year, Hamilton still improving still young.

    • freethe flames

      Here’s how I see the Flames D changing over the next number of years.
      This year: things are pretty much set with Kulak and likely Spoon filling the 6/7 spot. Ras will be the call up if anything happens to the RHD. Fox plays in the NCAA, Valimaki in the CHL(plays for the Heat when the season ends), Kylington in the AHL.
      Next Year: The same 6 start the year with Ras up full time as the 7th by the end of the year one of Stone/Hamonic are traded. Kylington comes up to be 7th D. Fox stays in the NCAA (joins the Heat when Harvard season ends), Valimaki plays for the Heat.
      Year 3: Ras is in top 6, Valimaki pushes Kulak or Brodie out(traded for assets) D looks something like this: Hamilton/Valimaki, Hamonic(or Stone depending on who is traded)/Kylington(Kulak/Brodie), Ras/Gio to start the season. Fox in the AHL by the end of the season Fox is in top 6 and the other RHD(Hamonic/Stone) is traded.
      Year 4: Hamilton/Valimaki, Anderson/Gio(unless father time has caught up with him), Fox/Kylington.

  • FuNky ANGER

    I enjoy this series on FN of ranking the prospects. I see that Canucks Army and LeafNation have done the same thing. Curious as to why (and I’m not trying to troll bait here) Jets Nation and OilerNation aren’t providing the same content to read. Despite what some people think of a teams prospect “ALL TEAMS” have a top 20 list. Just curious as to why those two other sites aren’t doing this. Would be an interesting read.

  • Al Rain

    Dude has a high ceiling, no doubt. But for my money, our top D prospect is one Juuso Valimaki.

    Our forward depth is looking pretty good I guess, but our top 3 D prospects are truly blue chip.

  • everton fc

    Amazing he didn’t get picked sooner. Quite an asset. A ton of defencive depth is a great advantage, when our people talk to other teams about trades…

    • oilcanboyd

      Not drafted sooner because he was heading to Harvard for an education first. Most teams just can’t wait! Flames have enough top tier talent on D that they can afford to wait. Flames are set for 3 years with their top 4 as it now stands.

  • Squishin

    I am looking forward to seeing this player on our team. Saw some clips of his play from last year – great stuff!
    Why the heck is he only #4? The order of this list is a bit confusing at times.

  • Just.Visiting

    Looks like a real find at this point. The size is a potential concern in the west, though. There is always a risk on being able to sign him too. Realistically, we’re looking at having to wait for at least two more seasons-possibly three, when our window is opening now.

    He looks like an appreciating asset and one in which some of the eastern US teams in particular would have a lot of interest. I wouldn’t be adverse to having one of them overpay with an elite RW prospect.

    I wonder if and how his name came up in the Hamonic discussions. If we could have done a straight up with perhaps one second or third, that would have caused to think hard about accepting that deal and monetizing the pick.

    Again, a great example of how much better we’ve done at the draft in recent years.

    • oilcanboyd

      The comment was made during the tournament in Michigan (Fox had 3G 6A in 5 games) was that Islanders should have asked for Adam Fox or there would be no deal. They likely did but Flames management knows what they have. and said NO!

  • Sven

    I am not too worried about his size:

    Modest size (5’11 and 182 lbs) with exceptional talent should trump exceptional size with modest talent-

    Mr Fox has an NHLE of 21.5 based upon his last Harvard season at age 19

    as compared to the NHLE of 20.9 generated by 5’9 , 165 lb Jared Spurgeon
    during his 2009/2010 season in the WHL with Spokane at the age of 20 –
    (and Spurgeon put up 10 goals and 38 points in 76 games in Minnesota last season)

    • McRib

      Fox was considered an 18 year old last year not a 19 year old. He was still two years away from being 20 years old. Jared Spurgeon is a great defender, I don’t mind this comparable and if that’s all Fox ends up as then we all should be excited, but its a low end comparable for Fox at this point. Fox is putting up incredibly elite numbers for his age, as he is up there with all of the top amateur offensive defensemen in the last decade.

      • McRib

        Therefore it would be a two year multiplier not a one year. Someone at FN has to do a comparable NHL Draft +1 NHLe chart for Fox’s season last year, as I honesty can’t think about another defender whose numbers would eclipse his in the last decade (outside of Ryan Ellis).