Rangers Report Cards: Grading the Right Defenseman

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 23: Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers skates with the puck during the first period of the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on March 23, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rangers win over Hurricanes 2-1.(Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 23: Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers skates with the puck during the first period of the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on March 23, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rangers win over Hurricanes 2-1.(Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Getty Images) /

Rangers Report Cards: Adam Fox: A+(A+)

Fox is already etching his name in New York Rangers history. The former Norris Trophy winner and reigning Norris Trophy runner-up set a career-high with 12 goals and a whopping 72 points. Fox was like the takeaway king with 88, the fourth in assists (defensemen category, of course), and his offensive mojo ranked him third with  141.03 Xgoals according to Moneypuck.

Every time he took the ice, opponents forgot how to score. Fox and Ryan Lindgren were the ultimate goal-stopping duo, ranking second with a 2.3 xGoals against per 60 minutes. They were masters at shutting down the other team’s chances. And guess what? Any pair with Fox on it let in less than two goals per 60 minutes on average.

It’s like Fox sprinkled defensive magic on his partners – they all became wizards alongside him!

He was so close to grabbing the Norris Trophy, finishing second, but Erik Karlsson and his 100-point season pulled a sneaky win.

In the playoffs, when the going got tough, Fox got going. Six assists in two games? Talk about dishing out the magic! He’s the only defenseman in Rangers history to pull off a 4+ assist playoff game – no big deal, right?

Sure, Fox had his “oops” moments, like that game seven giveaway against the New Jersey Devils, but even defense wizards have their off days. They’re not hockey-playing robots, after all! Despite those moments, his skills are still on fire, and his all-around game is mesmerizing.

Moreover, the Bluehshirts perform better with Fox on the ice than without. Offense? Bam, 23% net positive! Defense? A remarkable 13% positive impact. And oh, let’s not forget that powerplay is a mind-boggling 78% in the positive zone. When Fox is on the ice, the Rangers’ XGF per 60 is 3.74 compared to 3.28 without him per hockey Viz.

That said, it’s time Fox had the chance to play consistent top minutes with the Blueshirts’ other star blueliner, K’Andre Miller. With those two, we might witness one of the league’s top pairs. We love Lindgren (As displayed by his report card), but the evidence suggests a Fox-Miller duo could unlock Jacob Trouba’s full potential and teach the 23-year-old a few neat tricks, too.

Let’s face it: the 25-year-old Fox is the Rangers’ golden ticket. He’s not just the best on the team. He’s a contender for the best defenseman in the NHL. Each time he takes the ice, he makes that $9.5 million cap hit look like a bargain. Rangers fans love hearing what the Fox says on both sides of the puck each game night.