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.
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.
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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
4
TBD
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.)
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.
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Everybody chill.