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Craig Conroy considers the Adam Fox selection from 2016 NHL Draft a win

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
10 months ago
Every team has that one (or more) NHL Draft selection who got away that fans remember for unprecedented amounts of time. For the Calgary Flames, one of the players in question is Adam Fox, who was drafted in the third round (66th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
On Just A Game with Rob Kerr last week, Craig Conroy joined and talked about a myriad of subjects, one of which was drafting Fox in 2016.
(The interview is two hours and it’s excellent.)
It’s always interesting to hear what kind of opinions were held at the time of the draft by people in charge of selecting prospects that ended up being successful, but something stood out that I found very interesting, and that’s that not only did Jim Cummins, former NHL player and current amateur scout for the Flames (going on 12 years now) insist that Calgary snag Fox to his superiors, but that Conroy and the scouting staff still consider that pick a win even after all that happened with Fox choosing not to play with the Flames.
“I remember when we were talking about Fox the first time, and Jim Cummins, in the very first meeting, says, ‘We have to draft him.’ And Tod [Button] was like ‘eh.’ He liked the player. He wasn’t pounding the table, but then as we went along he’s like, ‘You know what, yeah, this is a guy we need. He’s not the biggest defenceman, but boy, what he does with the puck. His skating is good, not great.’ There were some things, but he said, ‘you know, you’re right.'”
The scouting staff still considering the Fox selection as a win isn’t all that surprising. However, one thing to glean from this is that the Flames have a staff that isn’t going to be overruled by higher-ups. Whether it’s Conroy making the picks or it’s Button, who is the director of amateur scouting for the Flames, opinions are weighed, and options are considered with every selection the team has. And when thinking about the youthful direction that the team is headed in, that’s a very important piece of the puzzle.
It’s hard to imagine that Conroy (or anyone) considers the Fox situation a win as a whole, but seeing a player that one of your scouts was passionate about do so well at the NHL level (even if it’s with another team) is an excellent way to generate trust between the scouting staff, the people helping construct the team, and the fans who want to see this organization compete for the Stanley Cup but may not get an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes.
The 2023 NHL Draft was a solid first outing for Conroy in his shiny new general manager gig, and the fact that he trusts his scouting staff enough not to overrule them on decisions is a great foundation to build from for the future. Fox may have gotten away in 2016, but there is talent to look forward to in the Calgary pipeline.

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