Adam Fox for Norris also has underlying stats why he should win it this season

As the NHL season winds down, there’s a lot of ink and airtime devoted to Adam Fox winning the Norris Trophy for best defenseman. Whether the Rangers make into the playoffs are not, the sophomore rearguard deserves the honor for the way he plays both ends of the ice.

Adam Fox should win the Norris Trophy

Adam Fox leads Victor Hedman for most points among defensemen by three (47-44). He also has 42 assists which is tops among all blue-liners. According to NHL Stats and Information, only seven defensemen in NHL history have averaged at least 0.80 assists per game in a season while 23 years old or younger (min. 40 games played). They are Bobby Orr (three times), Paul Coffey (three times), Brian Leetch (twice), Sergei Zubov, Ryan Suter, Denis Potvin, and Ray Bourque.

Defensively Fox shines as well. He currently ranks second on the PK with a 3.90 PPG against per 60 minutes. He’s third for takeaways among blue-liners with 33 and ranks sixth in plus/minus with a +23. These are excellent numbers and his play on the ice has been turning heads around the league.

If Fox can finish the season at this pace he’s not just a candidate; he’s the favorite to win the Norris.

Advanced stats say Adam Fox is the favorite to win the Norris

adam fox norris
Mar 30, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) celebrates his go ahead goal against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Wegman went into his fancy stats bag to pull out his top five candidates for the Norris Trophy. Oddly enough, Victor Hedman and John Carlson are not on mentioned. He made his list based on the following criteria:

  • xGF% = the share of expected goals a team produces while a player is on the ice at five-on-five
  • GF% = goals for percentage at five-on-five
  • GAR = goals above replacement-level player

Here’s Wegman’s top 5

5. Jakob Chychrun, Coyotes
4. Dougie Hamilton, Hurricanes
3. Charlie McAvoy, Bruins
2. Cale Makar, Avalanche
1. Adam Fox, Rangers

Fox is beginning to run away with the award – at least he should be, anyway. Not only does he lead all defensemen in points, but his underlying numbers further demonstrate just how valuable he’s been this season. With Fox on the ice, the Rangers’ GF% and xGF% sit at 61.3 and 56.2, respectively. Without him, they each fall by over 10 percent. Those aren’t inflated by his usage, either, as he draws tough assignments, and his offensive zone start percentage is just 46. He’s also carried his partner Ryan Lindgren – who has struggled mightily without Fox.

theScore

So there you have it! Forget about all the captain obvious reasons why he should win it, there’s even those underlying advanced stats that Norris voters can’t ignore.

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