Carolina Hurricanes: How to make room for Adam Fox


Earlier in the week we looked at the best prospects in the Carolina Hurricanes’ system. Adam Fox was top of that list – but how can the Canes make room for him to turn professional this season?

Adam Fox is the wildcard in the Dougie Hamilton/Noah Hanifin trade. After seeing Elias Lindholm elevate his game in Calgary and seeing Hanifin bounce back from a disappointing season, the general consensus is that for the Carolina Hurricanes to be considered winners of the trade, they need Adam Fox to sign pro terms and step in to the team.

That time is fast approaching, as we looked at in our prospects ranking earlier this week. Fox’s Harvard team is not expected to qualify for the NCAA Frozen Four, and could be available to the Carolina Hurricanes in mid-March. Fox could feasibly see 8-10 games as a member of the Canes – but how can the Canes make room for yet another righty, and should they even consider it at such a crucial stage of the season?

The simple answer is: yes. Hell yes. Adam Fox has game-breaking talent, and there isn’t a team in the NHL that wouldn’t add Fox to their team for the last few weeks of the season. He would be the team’s fifth right-handed defenseman, but what he would bring to the team can’t be taught – he can shoot the puck better than any blueliner currently on the Canes’ roster.

In terms of pairings, you can imagine that Rod Brind’Amour would leave the top two pairings for now; Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton have worked well together recently, while Brett Pesce has neutered some of Justin Faulk‘s more exotic tendencies. Both of these pairings feature experienced NHL defensemen, and have been excellent during the team’s 2019 run.

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Which leaves the third pairing. Calvin de Haan is the LHD on the third pairing, and has been a great free agent signing for the Carolina Hurricanes. All of this leaves us with the odd man out: Trevor van Riemsdyk. He’s been a solid acquisition for the Canes, and is a reliable 6/10 in every game. However, Adam Fox is a significant talent, and would be perfectly fine playing third-pairing minutes alongside a solid partner like de Haan. Given second unit power play time, Fox could expect to play 12-15 minutes every game, and if he needs to step out for a game, the Canes would have van Riemsdyk to come in.

It feels slightly harsh on Trevor van Riemsdyk, but he is the one person who could come out of the lineup to make way for Adam Fox. I believe Fox would hold his own defensively, and his offensive potential could see the Canes benefit enormously in the last 8-10 games of the season. Sorry, Trevor. It’s not personal.

Adding a player of Adam Fox’s caliber would be a real coup for the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s a potential game-changer who sees the ice exceptionally well, likes to move the puck, and makes good decisions. He’s defensively sound, and mature off the ice – he’s everything you want in a young defenseman, and he’s outscored blueline darlings Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes in the NCAA this season.

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If Don Waddell can get Fox signed, Rod Brind’Amour needs to make room for him. He’ll provide a nice boost to the team as they fight to the end for a playoff spot – and who knows, perhaps he’d even have an idea or two for a Storm Surge.