Adam Fox had a breakout season with the NTDP U18 squad this year, setting a program record for most points by a defenseman in a single season. Fox is a true playmaker from the blue line, and his ability to dish the puck will make him a high draft pick in this year's NHL Draft.
Player: Adam Fox
Team: US National Development Program U18
Height: 5'10" Weight: 183 lbs.
Stats: 64 games, 9 goals, 50 assists, 59 points
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 50th among North American skaters
What I Like:
Fox is, to me at least, the best pure passer available in this Draft. His vision and hockey sense is incredible. He moves the puck smartly and efficiently, making the simple play when necessary, but still maintaining the ability to make the difficult, flashy pass. He always has his head up surveying the situation and looking for an opportunity to make a play.
Fox can read the play well and think one step ahead, allowing him to step up in the neutral zone and intercept passes or to sneak in from the point to make himself open for an offensive scoring chance.
In over half a dozen live viewings of Fox this year, I don't have a game where the negative plays outweighed the positives. He brings the same high level of play every night, which is rare for a player his age.
What I Don't Like:
-Lack of pro physical attributes
Fox is listed at 5'10". It's not impossible for a defenseman that size to play at the NHL level, but the list of players currently doing so is relatively short(no pun intended). He's a smart defender that manages gaps well, but will lack a physical element to his defensive style that could make him a liability in his own end. He'll have to rely on the offense he creates to overcome some of that.
In addition, Fox isn't a superfast skater. His first step is quick enough to allow him to change angles and create shooting/passing lanes offensively, but he's not the type of skater that is going to get up and down the ice with ease.
NHL Central Scouting has Fox at 50th on their NA list, which equates to right around the end of the second round to very early in the third round. I like Fox a lot more than Central Scouting though. I have him ranked as one of the first picks off the board in the second round. Somewhere in the second round is likely where he gets picked, with an outside chance of him dropping to the early 3rd round.
If Fox makes it at the NHL level, it is as a power play quarterback. His intelligence and hockey sense should carry him to be a very solid NHL player. He likely doesn't project as a first pairing franchise defenseman due to the physical limitations, but could be a player that plays a very valuable role in generating offense for his team as a second pairing defenseman.