If you are apart of Rangers social media then you know the firestorm that it has been the last week or so since some NHL media decided the Norris trophy race was between Hedman, Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, and Drew Doughty. This angered many Rangers fans and rightfully so because not only is Adam Fox playing at a high level but he’s playing at what many would say is an elite level.
Fox played at high level last season in his rookie NHL campaign and during his Sophomore campaign there’s been no mention of a Sophomore slump. It’s actually been quite the contrary. Fox has cemented his spot as a top pair d-man on Broadway and has also become the lynchpin of a Rangers defense that is now thriving under the tutelage of Jacques Martin. Fox has also firmly planted himself as the Blueshirts first unit powerplay QB since the departure of Tony DeAngelo.
We could talk for hours about everything Fox does to drive offense for the Rangers but what is equally impressive to me is that his offense never comes at the cost of his defense. Fox is more than competent in his own end and that’s evident by the shutdown pair that he’s formed with fellow young blueliner Ryan Lindgren. The Fox-Lindgren pair emerged last season as the Rangers best defensive pair and was used and trusted by David Quinn and his staff in every and all situations.
The Lindgren and Fox dynamic duo is something that Rangers fans haven’t witnessed since the days of Beukeboom-Leetch patrolling the blueline at MSG. This is one statement that I do not make lightly at all because we’ve seen many Rangers fans compare any d-man with offensive ability compared to Brian Leetch over the years but all fall short and I mean way short. Now don’t misquote me here at all, in no way am I saying that Adam Fox is the next Brian Leetch but what I am saying is that he’s showing a dynamic that Ranger fans haven’t enjoyed since the days of the fabled number 2.
While the Norris Trophy is certainly in the hands of Victor Hedman to lose, Adam Fox should not only be in the conversation for the Norris but he’s someone who should be considered as a finalist as well. Fox’s 27 points in 32 games currently has him tied for 5th in the NHL among defensemen for points. Among the top Norris contenders though one thing to notice is that Fox is currently sitting at +9 defensively which has him third behind Hedman, and Jeff Petry. Most times +/- is one stat that can be thrown away when looking at players but in the case of defensemen it can be telling because you can see how much of a liability a player can be in their own end. Fox still being able to maintain a positive rating while being on a team that has had goalie issues, outside of Igor Shesterkin, speaks very loudly to the value of Fox to the Rangers on both ends of the ice. When looking at the more utilized advanced stats for today’s game, one can see where Fox stacks up against the favorites for finalists in the Norris Trophy:
|Player||GP||TOI||CF||CA||CF%||FF||FA||FF%||SF||SA||SF%||GF||GA||GF%||xGF||xGA||xGF%||SCF||SCA||SCF%||HDCF||HDCA||HDCF%||HDGF||HDGA||HDGF%||On-Ice SH%||On-Ice SV%||PDO||Off. Zone Starts||Neu. Zone Starts||Def. Zone Starts||On The Fly Starts||Off. Zone Start %||Off. Zone Faceoffs||Neu. Zone Faceoffs||Def. Zone Faceoffs||Off. Zone Faceoff %|
While again Fox will likely not win the Norris this year or even be a finalist because of the NHL media’s love to play favorites or favorites against New York to try and not show bias. Fox has loudly announced that he is one of the best young defensemen in this league and should be taken seriously for a Norris Trophy bid. Especially if you’re going to try and tell me that Drew Doughty is worthy of a Norris bid this season considering that he has nearly identical numbers to Fox. Also the Kings winning games this season has less to do with Doughty’s success as it does the revival of Anze Kopitar.
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