Adam Fox’s strong start could lead to a big Rangers expansion

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The Montreal-Rangers 2021-22 season has just begun, but Adam Fox has rightfully picked up where he left off his Norris Trophy-winning 2020-21 campaign and is close to a massive contract extension.

The 23-year-old defenseman was brilliant on both ends of the ice at the Rangers home in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Stars on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. (25:00) Fox logged a team-high 5:51 in power play and 1:19 shorthand as part of the Rangers’ Top Man-Advantage Unit. His ability to influence all situations is the driving force for Rangers.

With Fox’s heavy workload, the Rangers run the risk of tiring their No. 1 defenseman.

“I think 25 minutes is a fair game for him. The way he skates, he’s smooth, he’s a young player there,” head coach Gerard Gallant said before the Rangers on Saturday, the first playoffs in Canada since the 2019-20 bubble, facing the Canadiens at the Bell Center. “He’s not going to play 30 minutes, but there are plenty of games where he can play 25, 26 minutes in that area – depending on the circumstances, power play [penalty kills]. We don’t care for anything. ”

Adam Fox, who was fighting for the puck with Luke Glendenning during the Rangers’ defeat to the Flyers, may be in line for a big deal in the offseason.
NHLI by Getty Images

Fox scored his first goal of the season against the Stars, cutting the Rangers deficit to one at 8:53 of the second period, hitting a long wrist from the top of the zone after retaining possession.

“When he walks in the blue line like that and runs them, it’s so fun to be on the bench or on the ice,” Chris Kreider said of Fox. “When you see that happen, you know you have a good chance to score.”

Gallant said of how Fox can keep pucks in the zone: “He’s in that blue line, and as a coach you say, ‘Get deeper.’ But he makes that extra play, and he does it 99 percent of the time.”

The Rangers know that Fox is a great No. 1 defenseman, but needs to negotiate a deal. The Jericho, LI, native is set to become a restricted free agent when his entry-level contract expires at the end of this season.

Avalanche Kale Mucker, who won the Calder Trophy in 2020, set a current price-point for young top defense men when she signed a six-year extension in the summer at an average of $ 9 million per season. Since then, the scope of Fox’s next deal has been clear.

Additionally, on Friday, Fox’s childhood friend and Long Beach native Charlie McAvoy became the fourth-highest paid defenseman in the NHL, signing a contract extension with the Bruins that would pay him $ 76 million over the next eight years – $ 9.5 million each – for the start of the next season. That deal will certainly be taken into consideration during Fox’s talks.

After giving Mika Zibanejad a massive eight-year deal at $ 8.5 million, however, the Rangers will face some cap challenges in the coming few months amid the NHL’s $ 81.5 million salary cap. The Fox team is likely to agree a friendly deal to ensure the Rangers continue to build around him, but each defender has the rights to target $ 9.5 million- $ 10 million on each rank.

The Rangers may be in a tricky place considering how much money the organization already has around players like Jibanejad, Artemi Panarin ($ 11.642 million), Jacob Trouba ($ 8 million), and Creeder ($ 6.5 million). And Igor Shusterkin ($ 5.666 million)

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