Now that he is only the second player to win the Norris Trophy in his second season — Bobby Orr was the first — Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said his focus now is on lifting the team to new heights.
"From my rookie year to this year I just tried to gain more trust,’’ Fox, a Jericho native, said on a Zoom call late Tuesday night after he became the fourth American and first Long Islander to win the award. "I think people knew I could be an offensive player, but I wanted to have a little more sense of responsibility. And I obviously got trusted this year with killing penalties and being out there in defensive situations a little more. And I think it just helped me, and I think I just tried to play well, game in and game out, and help the team win. I think when you do that, personal success comes from that, and I think the next step is just team success.
"Being a Ranger is [to belong to] one of the best organizations in the league,’’ he said. "We’ve got a lot of young pieces and I think just having team success will benefit me and benefit everyone. I think that's the next step.’’
Fox, 23, will take that next step with a new coach in Gerard Gallant. He replaces David Quinn, who was fired by new president and general manager Chris Drury after the season. Quinn coached the Rangers the past three years and kept giving Fox more and more ice time. He was as responsible as anyone for Fox’s becoming a star so early in his career.
"Yeah, of course, the coaching staff, management, everyone involved is helpful in where I'm at and obviously gave me the opportunity to play and showcase what I could do,’’ Fox said. "Coach Quinn trusted me, and I'm grateful for that. And yeah, we've kept in touch a little bit and he's congratulated me, and I wish him the best. But, you know, those type of business decisions are not for me to make, and I obviously wish those guys the best.’’
Fox led all NHL defensemen with 42 assists. His 47 points (in 55 games) was second in the league.
He garnered 40 first-place votes and earned 743 points in the voting. Runner-up Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche had 31 first-place votes and 655 points, and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning finished third, with 22 first-place votes and 433 points. Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton was fourth and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy, another Long Islander, was fifth, earning two first-place votes and 125 points.
Fox also was named to the NHL's first All-Star team, joining Makar, Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, Edmonton center Connor McDavid, Toronto right wing Mitchell Marner and Boston left wing Brad Marchand.
Fox was asked if he now owns bragging rights over his close friend, McAvoy, of Long Beach, for being the first Long Islander to win the award.
"Charlie, you know, is a great friend that I've known since we were little kids, and it's great to see the success he's having,’’ Fox said with a smile. "I don't know if either of us ever even mentioned the word ‘Norris Trophy’ in our childhood conversations. But it's great for Long Island to see the success he's having, [and] myself being on the Rangers and being from Long Island… I think it's just great for the future Long Island hockey.’’