With the 66th overall selection, the Calgary Flames drafted American defenceman Adam Fox out of the United States National Team Development Program’s (NTDP) U18 squad.
The 5-foot-10, 181-pound blueliner is coming off an outstanding season in which he set NTDP single-season record for points by a defenceman with 59 through 64 games. At the IIHF U18 World Junior Championship, he led all rearguards in scoring and was named the tournament's best defenceman.
"Jimmy Cummins fought all year for this Adam Fox kid." Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button stated. "He’s an undersized defenceman, but he’s really smart and he’s a skill guy."
Next season, Fox will begin his collegiate career with Harvard. Taken in the third round, Fox was the highest selection of five ECAC players drafted this summer.
"When I visited there, it all came together real well," Fox said of the decision to play at the Ivy League school. "Obviously it’s a great education, but with the coaching staff -- coach Donato -- it's definitely a great program right in Boston.
"I think it all came together really nice for me. I fell in love with it."
INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICE - RANKED 44TH OVERALL
Fox provides an offensive spark from the blueline and a strong exit pass out of the zone, he’s at his best on the puck when he is able to let his vision takeover. After a good season within the USHL he was outstanding at the U18 World Championships and was selected best defenceman. A smooth skating, offensive defenceman who shows strong mobility and excellent vision. Creative with the puck on his stick. Plays both special teams. Not physical at all. Has trouble handling bigger players and gets beat too often. Size/strength is the obvious concern here. Will need 2/3 years development time, committed to Harvard University, he'll be a top end college player.
NHL Potential: Top 4 puck moving defenceman who shows good QB ability.
FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS - RANKED 36TH OVERALL
Fox is an average-size defenceman who is confident in joining the rush, and will get pucks on net from anywhere in the offensive zone. His point wrist shot is quick and accurate. He displays efficient puck control in transition, and often shows his impressive top-end speed while joining the rush. He was arguably the best defenceman on the U18 squad this year. Fox is very confident with the puck and displays great patience. He doesn’t panic at the offensive zone blueline when he is pressured by forwards and keeps his poise, making smart decisions. He was an important part of the power play this season with his calm play and good set-up ability. Fox wants the puck on his stick and likes to start the rush through the middle, where he can dance through forecheckers while displaying a good combination of puckhandling skill, elusiveness and speed. He reads the ice very well while skating with the puck, which leads to strong, accurate puck distribution. His teammates need to be constantly aware when he has the puck because he can find players through lanes no one thought were open. Fox often joins the rush as a trailer player and looks for a pass to get a shot on net, using impressive top-end speed. Defensively, he can also look paralyzed and indecisive. He uses his active stick and tries to be in lanes in his own zone. He also needs to add strength and size as he can be bullied along the wall. This offensive defenceman will not have any issues transitioning into the college level and the professional game.
NHL Potential: Middle-pairing offensive defenceman
RED LINE REPORT - RANKED 49TH OVERALL
Smallish defender is highly mobile and a take charge quarterback from the blueline. The prototype of a modern rearguard. Controls the blue line on the PP. Takes contolled risks with the puck and jumps up into rushes. Really sees the ice well and is never afraid to try creative passes. Pushes the pace and is outstanding in the transition game. Forces the action at the offensive end with aggressive pinches. Threads intelligently placed shots through traffic and gets them on net. Doesn’t go for power - goes for rebounds and deflections. Extremely competitive and a willing hitter who will initiate contact. While generating offence is his calling card, he takes pride in his defensive game and is a smart positional defender. Good stick placement. Angles well and closes gaps easily, but can be overpowered down low in own end. Might not win all the battles but will always be there to answer the bell.
NHL Potential: Steady #4-5 puck mover and second unit PP
Style Compares To: Stephane Robidas