STAMFORD, Conn. -- Adam Fox had been to development camps before, with the Carolina Hurricanes last year and the Calgary Flames the prior two. Each time, a return to Harvard University was always the plan.
Not this year with the New York Rangers.
"Now it's, take the things the organization wants me to work on and run with it into training camp," the 21-year-old defenseman said during Rangers development camp in June. "It's definitely different knowing you're going to be sticking around."
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Fox left Harvard after last season, when as a junior he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top men's player in NCAA Division I ice hockey, because the Hurricanes gave him what he wanted: the chance to start his professional career with the Rangers, his favorite team as a kid from Jericho, New York.
Selected by the Flames in the third round (No. 66) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Fox was acquired by New York on April 30 in a trade with Carolina for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. He agreed to terms on an entry-level contract two days later.
"Carolina treated me well and obviously had a lot of success this past season, but for me, it seemed like a better fit to be here, a team that openly said it was rebuilding and trying to get young guys to work with going forward," Fox said. "I thought it was good for me to be a part of that process."
The Rangers feel Fox (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) has the potential to be in the lineup when they open the season against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 3. He could earn the chance to play as high as the second pair as a right-shot defenseman behind Jacob Trouba. The Rangers also have Kevin Shattenkirk and Tony DeAngelo, who is an RFA, on the right side.
"That will spell itself out," New York general manager Jeff Gorton said. "After everything [Adam has] done and accomplished, I think he's staring at our team and saying, 'Why can't I make this team?' We're going to give him a chance."
Fox led the NCAA in assists (39) and tied for fourth in points (48) last season, but the key to success in the NHL will be proving he's a capable defender.
"The opportunity is there for him and he's got to take advantage of it," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "But for a guy who has had so much success in his career driven by his offense and his ability to get out of the zone, he's going to have to defend to a level he's never had to.
"I also think he's a guy who is driven and committed to it, so there's an opportunity for him to do that, and he's going to get every opportunity in training camp to make our team."