Rangers defensive star receives praise from NHL Network

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) passes the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period of game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden
Jun 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) passes the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period of game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have once again had one of their star players make an appearance on one of NHL Network’s top players list, this one showcasing the NHL’s best defensemen. Adam Fox has been a star throughout his entire young career, nearing close to a point per game average and quickly becoming a vital piece of the Rangers’ roster. Fox ranked near the top of NHL Network’s list of top defensemen, coming off of a stellar 2022-23 season.

Rangers’ Adam Fox ranked second-best defenseman in the NHL

At just 25 years old, Fox has already climbed his way to the second-highest-ranked defenseman in the league. Improving from 4th highest in 2022, the Rangers star falls only behind Colorado’s Cale Makar. It’s a well-deserved honor, as Fox has proved himself to be an elite offensive defenseman throughout the last few seasons.

In the 2023 season, Fox tallied 72 points in 82 games. Being paired alongside Ryan Lindgren, who focuses solely on the defensive aspect of hockey, allowed Fox to become an essential piece of the Rangers offense. Acting as the quarterback of the first power play unit, Fox was able to shine bright on special teams on top of his stellar 5v5 play.

“New York was 15-0-0 when Fox had at least two points and he was the only defenseman with at least 70 points and a plus-minus rating of at least plus-25. The 25-year-old, who won the Norris in 2020-21, began the 2023 playoffs with six points (all assists) in his first two games, passing Brad Park for most at the position in the first two games of a postseason in Rangers history.”

via NHL.com

Should Fox have ranked even higher?

Fox and Makar being ranked second and first respectively adds even more discussion to the ongoing debate over which player is better. When Fox won the 2021 Norris Trophy for the season’s top defenseman, Makar had finished just behind him for a close second.

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Makar would go on to win the Norris the following year, with Fox only ranking fifth league-wide. It was a bit of a down year for Fox, but he still managed to stay near the very top of the NHL’s best.

Just last season, both players were nominated as Norris finalists, but San Jose’s Erik Karlsson took home the award as Fox finished second by a large margin over Makar.

The debate between Fox and Makar has been growing for years, and it is still hard to determine which player is better to this day. Both defensemen are extremely offensive-minded, and they have each won one Norris Trophy a piece. Makar has earned a Stanley Cup ring, but many will argue that championships are a team effort more than an individual accolade.

As of now, Fox and Makar are both pretty evenly matched. The argument could be made for either player being the best defenseman in the NHL, but for now, Makar takes the title on NHL Network’s list.