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Adam Fox on 1st Rangers Development Camp: It's an Exciting Time

Jericho native signed entry-level contract with New York in May; hoping to make roster out of training camp

by Jess Isner

STAMFORD, Conn. - Since his junior season at Harvard University ended on March 29, Adam Fox has been a little busy. 

One month and one day after what would prove to be his final collegiate game, Fox's rights were traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Rangers. Three days later, he signed his entry-level contract with New York, the team he worshipped as a kid growing up in nearby Jericho, N.Y. 

Two weeks after that, he set off for Slovakia to compete in the men's IIHF World Championship as a member of Team USA. For the rest of May, he played alongside the likes of Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau and fellow Rangers Brady Skjei and Chris Kreider. 

And now, he's in the midst of his first development camp with his new team. 

So yes. He's been a little bit busy. 

"It's been a little crazy, but exciting obviously," Fox said after the second day of Rangers development camp on Tuesday. "I saw a good opportunity [in New York]. It's a team that's rebuilding and trying to get a lot of young pieces to work with going forward, so just trying to be a part of that is something that I saw as an exciting thing for me to do." 

In the short term, Fox has a singular goal - not an easy one, but a simple one. 

"I want to make the team out of camp and start there," he said.

But that's where the thinking stops. He has spoken with Head Coach David Quinn about what he has to work on over the summer in order to best prepare himself for his first NHL training camp. He is aware that he has to add some strength and get quicker. Those will be his primary areas of focus over the next eight weeks. 

Aside from that, though, he wants to be a sponge. He wants to learn. He wants to compete. But he isn't thinking about whom he'll be paired with or what role he'll play. That is beyond him. None of that can happen if he doesn't accomplish Goal No. 1.

"It's not really for me to make the decisions on where I am in the lineup or what role I have; just making the team for me is a start," Fox said. "Obviously I know there's a lot of great players, and all I can really do is control how I play. Wherever they see a fit for me is something I'm trying to do. I think for me, I'm just putting forth my best play when they're watching and have them make the decision from there." 

Signing Fox was the first of many significant offseason moves made by General Manager Jeff Gorton. After signing Fox, he inked Russian prospects Igor Shesterkin, Yegor Rykov and Vitali Kravtsov to their own entry-level deals. He traded for defenseman Jacob Trouba. Then, he drafted Finnish phenom Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick in last week's NHL Draft. 

In short succession, the Rangers' system received a strong infusion of youth, and Fox served as the first dose. 

"I think he certainly has a chance to [make the team]," Gorton said. "He's a very gifted puck-mover. We saw him over at the Worlds, what he could do. But again, I think he's a guy that's coming out of college. After everything he's done and accomplished, I think he's staring at our team saying, 'Why can't I make this team?' And we're going to give him a chance."

As a junior, Fox spent two years at the prestigious National Team Development Program, where his teammates included the likes of Auston Matthews, Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy and fellow Rangers prospect Ryan Lindgren. 

Then, as a freshman at Harvard, he exploded for 40 points in 35 games. This past season, he registered a career-high 48 points in 33 games with a plus-23 rating. He was named one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in college hockey, and he was dubbed a First-Team All-American. 

At Harvard, Fox suited up plenty of times against fellow development camper and Cornell center Morgan Barron. Over the last few months, he's gotten a good look at the players who very well may be his teammates soon enough. For one, he played against Kakko at the World Championships in May. Like everyone else who saw the 18-year-old Finn's performance on the world stage, he was suitably impressed. 

"You could tell he was a special player, going up against elite NHL guys and not only handling his own, but playing really well and making an impact," Fox said. "He's definitely a great player, and it's nice to be here with him. His size and strength were definitely things that stuck out to me. Being a younger guy and being able to hold his own against older men out there was definitely impressive, and he's got the skill to go along with it. He's definitely a pretty complete player." 

At Worlds, he was able to call Skjei and Kreider his teammates long before his first Rangers training camp, which has certain advantages. There's nothing like learning the ropes from guys who have been there for years - especially one guy who also came up through the U.S. NTDP (Skjei), and another who signed with the Rangers straight out of the NCAA (Kreider). 

"Having Brady and Kreids there was good for me - they helped me out a lot," Fox said. "It's definitely an adjustment going from college to something like that, and then obviously professional hockey. So just having them around was definitely a big plus for me.

"Just being there, you pick up a few things about how guys handle themselves, and for me - I'm a young guy, and they know that. So when new things come, things I haven't seen before, they helped me out a lot. Coming from college where I was an older guy and had a little more experience under my belt, these guys have all the experience. So I'm just trying to learn from them."

This summer marks Fox's third development camp, but his first with New York. That alone presents its own challenges. Tuesday's on-ice itinerary, for example, included the dreaded skating conditioning tests. 

"It was tough - it was my first on-ice conditioning test that I'd done at any of the development camps, so definitely new," he said with a laugh. "But got through it."

And that's the thing about this development camp. There is a lot of competition. Normally, development camp is just that: a place for prospects to develop, to get their first taste of what it means to be a pro. But at this year's camp alone, there are a handful of players expected to compete for and potentially earn NHL roster spots come October. 

There is certainly competition, and lots of it. But Fox doesn't see it as a threat. Instead, he sees it as an opportunity - not to prove himself, but to build camaraderie with players who, if all goes to plan, will become his teammates sooner rather than later. 

That, after all, is one of the reasons Fox wanted to become a Ranger in the first place. 

"I think it's good for me, having guys in a similar position to me, trying hard to make the team and make an impact for the Rangers next year," he said. "It's good. It's something guys can work together to try and do. There's a lot of great, young players that they brought in that they're trying to work with going forward, so it's definitely an exciting time."

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