Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Adam Fox is staying in school (and that’s completely normal)

Our friends at Postmedia dug up a bit of news that, while not wholly unexpected, is fairly notable. Calgary Flames prospect Adam Fox, a Harvard sophomore and 2016 third round draft pick, has decided to stay in school.

Fox, 20, has had a pair of really nice years since being drafted. He set the defenseman single-season scoring record for the U.S. National Development Program in his draft year. Then he was one of the top scoring defensemen in the entire United States college system in his freshman year – if you look at his age group, nobody was close to him. This season he was again one of the top producing defenders, something that’s even more impressive when you note that Harvard was a worse team this season than it was last season.

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He also went to two World Juniors, winning a gold medal in 2017 and a silver medal this year. He’s been a very productive player and will be a huge part of Harvard’s attack next season.

Fox’s decision will probably prompt a lot of fans and onlookers to panic and proclaim things like, “Oh no! He’s going to go to free agency because the Flames have a lot of defensemen in their system!” To that I say this: most college-bound prospects of note (a) stay in college for three years so they can finish up a degree in the off-seasons and (b) sign with the team that drafted them. Almost nobody that’s drafted makes it to free agency.

Here’s a list of college-bound players selected in the first three rounds of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 drafts.

Player Team Draft School Years Signed?
J.T. Compher COL 2013, 2nd U. Michigan 3 Yes
Connor Hurley BUF 2013, 2nd Notre Dame
U. Minnesota
Steven Santini NJ 2013, 2nd Boston College 3 Yes
Gustaf Olofsson MIN 2013, 2nd Colorado College 1 Yes
Zach Sanford WSH 2013, 2nd Boston College 2 Yes
Brett Pesce CAR 2013, 3rd U. New Hampshire 3 Yes
Eamon McAdam NYI 2013, 3rd Penn State 3 Yes
John Hayden CHI 2013, 3rd Yale 4 Yes
Taylor Cammarata NYI 2013, 3rd U. Minnesota 4 No
Jake Guentzel PIT 2013, 3rd U. Nebraska-Omaha 3 Yes
Keaton Thompson ANA 2013, 3rd U. North Dakota 3 Yes
Dylan Larkin DET 2014, 1st U. Michigan 1 Yes
Alex Tuch MIN 2014, 1st Boston College 2 Yes
Nick Schmaltz CHI 2014, 1st U. North Dakota 2 Yes
Thatcher Demko VAN 2014, 2nd Boston College 3 Yes
Joshua Jacobs NJ 2014, 2nd Michigan State 1* Yes
Ryan Collins CBJ 2014, 2nd U. Minnesota 3 Yes
Jack Dougherty NSH 2014, 2nd U. Wisconsin 1 Yes
Maxim Letunov STL 2014, 2nd U. Connecticut 3 Yes
Brandon Montour ANA 2014, 2nd U. Mass-Amherst 1 Yes
Ryan Donato BOS 2014, 2nd Harvard 3 Yes
Johnathan MacLeod TBL 2014, 2nd Boston University 4 TBD
Brandon Hickey CGY 2014, 3rd Boston University 4 TBD
Warren Foegele CAR 2014, 3rd U. New Hampshire 1* Yes
Jack Glover WPG 2014, 3rd U. Minnesota 4 TBD
Zach Werenski CBJ 2015, 1st U. Michigan 1 Yes
Kyle Connor WPG 2015, 1st U. Michigan 1 Yes
Colin White OTT 2015, 1st Boston College 2 Yes
Brock Boeser VAN 2015, 1st U. North Dakota 2 Yes
A.J. Greer COL 2015, 2nd Boston University 0* Yes
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson BOS 2015, 2nd Boston University 2 Yes
Jordan Greenway MIN 2015, 2nd Boston University 3 TBD
Jack Roslovic WPG 2015, 2nd Miami University 1 Yes
Jeremy Bracco TOR 2015, 2nd Boston College 0* Yes
Erik Foley WPG 2015, 3rd Providence College 3 TBD
Brent Gates ANA 2015, 3rd U. Minnesota 3 TBD
Brendan Warren ARZ 2015, 3rd U. Michigan 3 TBD
Tom Novak NSH 2015, 3rd U. Minnesota 3 TBD
Mike Robinson SJS 2015, 3rd U. New Hampshire 1 TBD
Matej Tomek PHI 2015, 3rd U. North Dakota* 1 TBD
Dennis Gilbert CHI 2015, 3rd Notre Dame 3 TBD

(This list actually downplays the college players signing trend a bit, because Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin were drafted out of college and signed immediately.)

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More high-end prospects have signed and jumped to the Canadian Hockey League than hit free agency. As many high-end prospects have flunked out of college and dropped back to the USHL than have opted for free agency. And the only prospect taken in the first three rounds that went to free agency, Taylor Cammarata, was not signed by any NHL organization.

In recent Flames history, most college prospects have played three seasons and signed (Johnny Gaudreau and Jon Gllies) or four seasons and signed (Bill Arnold and Mark Jankowski). Typically the only players that make it to free agency are the late round gambles, the John Gilmours of the world.

Everybody chill.

  • Beer League Coach

    Adam Fox is no dummy. He knows the value of a degree from Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities in the US. He can still play pro hockey after he graduates. Flames have Hamonic and Stone as RH shot D men under contract for another 2 seasons after this disastrous one. Tre has the line of succession on the blue line under control and with Rasmus Andersson joining Flames blue line next season we are in great shape with RH D-men.

    • Canadaken

      I believe that Fox is one of Calgary’s beat prospects if not the best prospect. I think that his not signing this year is a huge red flag. 2 more years at Harvard and he get his degree and will be able to sign with any team he wishes. He will be in demand. This is what I would do in his situation. Calgary should be worried at the moment

      • Stockton's Finest

        Lose 4-1 (same as the other 2 games earlier this year). Gillies gives up 3 on 11 shots in the second. Lomberg scores late but an empty net goal finalizes the score. 2 goals in the last 4 games. No Bueno! ?

    • RKD

      Wrong, are you one of the ones who said Gaudreau wouldn’t sign here because he’s going to stay in school? Smh. None of us know what is in Fox’s head. Look at how Tim Erixon panned out when he refused to sign with the Flames, only 93 NHL games at age 27. Hasn’t played in the NHL since the 14-15 season.

      • Cfan in Van

        Fox previously said that he has every intention to sign with Calgary. Fox has also said that he appreciate’s Calgary’s support and commitment. History says it’s improbable that he decides not to sign with Calgary.

        But no, lets all worry about a remote possibility because some dude who never posts here comes out of the woodwork to let us know we should worry.

  • PrairieStew

    Good news. Smart move, he’s not big, grind in NHL would be tough and at this point he’s 5th in the depth chart on the right side (6th if you switch Brodie back).