GREENBURGH, N.Y. – The opening of NHL training camps is around the corner. Adam Fox can hardly wait.
The 21-year-old defenseman from Jericho will be playing for the Rangers in the annual Traverse City Tournament this weekend in Traverse City, Michigan. It is the 13th time the Rangers are sending a team to the tournament, which showcases prospects from eight NHL teams – the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and the Rangers – and Fox is very much looking forward to it.
“It’s good to get some games in before camp starts [on Sept. 12],’’ Fox said Thursday after the Rangers held a practice for the Traverse City squad at their MSG Training Center facility. “Guys are going to be playing hard; it’s time to make an impression for some people, so I’m definitely excited to get there and get some games in.’’
For Fox, the weekend is an opportunity to get a head start on showing the Rangers why he should be on their opening night roster when the NHL regular season begins for them with an Oct. 3 home game against Winnipeg. Acquiring Fox, a 5-11, 180-pound, righthanded-shooting offensive defenseman, was one of the first moves the Rangers made in what was a very busy summer. In April, shortly after the 2018-19 season ended, they dealt a second-round pick in this summer’s draft and a conditional third-rounder in 2020 to the Carolina Hurricanes for Fox. They then traded for defenseman Jacob Trouba, drafted Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick, and signed the biggest prize of the free agent market, forward Artemi Panarin.
All the summer moves they made – including signing forward Vitali Kravtsov, goalie Igor Shesterkin and defenseman Yegor Rykov – have excited the Rangers' fan base. And Fox, who played college hockey for Harvard and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award after leading the NCAA in assists last season, is expected to be a big part of their playoff push, especially after the Rangers bought out the contract of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
Like Fox, Shattenkirk is a righthanded-shooting offensive defenseman who can quarterback a power play. Cutting him loose after two disappointing seasons not only created some desperately needed salary cap space, but it opened a spot on the roster for Fox.
“That was the team’s decision,’’ Fox said of the Shattenkirk buyout. “Obviously, for me, it’s an opportunity to hopefully step in. ‘Shatty’ is a really good guy, and a good player. And you hope the best for him.’’
Notes & quotes: Kakko did not practice Thursday. The Rangers said he was “under the weather.’’ He did go with the team to Traverse City and is expected to play . . .The Rangers have a 24-man roster that features 10 draft picks, including four 2019 picks . . . The Rangers open the tournament at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Columbus, and have games Saturday night, Monday afternoon and Tuesday at a time to be determined.