Fox: Rangers expect to take 'step forward' next season
The 2020-21 season was the year of the Fox.
After joining Bobby Orr as the second defenseman to win the Norris Trophy before his third NHL campaign, New York Rangers dynamo Adam Fox is ready to juggle higher expectations for himself and his young team as a new season looms.
The first item on his checklist? Make the playoffs.
"You can only say you're a young team for so long, or you're only in a developmental phase for so long," Fox said, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "We have pieces and a lot of really good players, so I think it's probably playoffs or it's a disappointing year for a lot of guys. It starts in camp and gelling together."
Fox didn't go so far as to say it was playoffs or bust for the Rangers. However, he said the squad needs to start moving out of the rebuild phase that the franchise first announced in 2018.
"We should definitely take a step forward," Fox said. "We've been a young team for the past few years and it only gets better with more experience."
Fox will lead New York's youthful defense corps this season - three of its top-four defensemen are aged 23 and under, with 21-year-old Nils Lundkvist vying for a spot on the third pair. The Rangers' forward group is a bit more balanced, with veterans like Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Chris Kreider evening out the inexperience of Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko.
At the helm of it all is new coach Gerard Gallant, who Fox is "definitely excited" to play for.
"I've heard nothing but good things about him," he said. "I can't speak too much to the systems. We haven't gotten going with that. But you see the success he's had with Vegas, and I haven't heard someone say a bad word about him."
The puck drops on the Rangers' season on Oct. 13 against the Washington Capitals.