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.

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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.

Quotable

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

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.

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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).

Previously

#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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