Craig Conroy knows what it is like to advance throughout your hockey career and enter into a rookie season, unsure of what awaits you at that level.
He's been there, done that.
From his time with Clarkson College, to making his American Hockey League debut with the Fredericton Canadiens and skating in his first NHL game with the Montreal Canadiens, he has a clear understanding of what rookies go through on and off the ice.
So, watching Harvard defenceman Adam Fox burst onto the scene in the NCAA's ECAC conference, he understands exactly what kind of achievement it is to be so dominant as a true freshman.
"To be able to go in and be over a point a game already, as a defenceman … wow," Conroy told CalgaryFlames.com "He has 11 points in nine games, which is pretty amazing. And he has points in seven of those nine games. He's consistent.
"He's playing his game, already. There's no feeling out period, no nervousness."
As Conroy noted, as of Dec. 1, Fox has one goal and 11 points in nine games during the 2016-17 campaign. The 18-year-old is now the fourth-leading scorer amongst ECAC defencemen and is Harvard's fifth-leading scorer.
In seven games in the month of November, the Jericho, NY product registered eight points, 12 shots on net and was a plus-five. He has established himself as a key cog on the Crimson's power play, with six of his points in November coming on the man advantage, and has earned time on the penalty kill as well.
"He's so smart. He makes plays. He's great on the power play. He has great vision," Conroy raved.
"He's just an offensively-gifted guy that makes plays, makes things happen every time he's on the ice. His vision and his hockey sense are so strong. And he's always had skill too. I worried about the size and the speed of the game but obviously that hasn't affected him at all."
Fox's strong play in November could parlay into a busy December. Already on USA Hockey's radar for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, Fox's seamless transition to the NCAA will only aid in his push to land a roster spot with Team USA at the annual tournament.
"Being at Plymouth this summer, at the National Junior Evaluation Camp, I'd have a hard time thinking he's not going to make the team but I've been wrong before and I'm probably a little biased," Conroy chuckled. "I'd be surprised, especially with how good he is on the power play. In these small tournaments like that, you win and lose on special teams. And if he can make your power play that much better … and five-on-five, he's good. He's excellent on the power play and I think that's how you're going to win a tournament like that.
"I'll keep my fingers crossed that he's going to be there, make the World Junior team. Especially with it being over in Toronto and Montreal."
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The Flames selected Fox in the third round of the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo, NY. Ranked 50th amongst North America skaters by NHL Central Scouting, the Flames considered themselves extremely fortunate to nab the blueliner 66th overall in the draft.
In his draft-eligible season, Fox set a United States National Team Development Program record for points by a defenceman in a single season with 59 in 64 games.
He was also a force at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Junior Championship, where he led all rearguards in scoring with nine points through seven skates and was named the tournament's top defenceman.
"He's a big prospect for us," Conroy said. "Jim Cummings, one our of scouts, was really pounding the table come draft day.
"From Day One, the first meetings in January, he said, 'We've got to find a way to get this guy. He's a special player. He's exactly what we need.' We talk about hockey sense, skill … I remember Jimmy saying, 'I'm going to put my star on him right now.' When I think back now, hey, Jimmy wanted him from Day One. He's been talking about him for a couple of years now. So that's exciting."