Who Do We Have With Trent Fox v2.0?
Trent Fox came to Hamilton labeled as a reliable two-way forward who pays attention to the little details defensively before thinking about the offensive potential of a play. The coaching staff showed that there was a lot of trust in his abilities early in the season, as he became the complementary winger alongside overage forwards Stephen Harper and Mason Marchment. There was concern that the offense would dry up once the two were traded, but Fox showcased that he has the ability to finish plays and find the back of the net. Fox got the chance to skate with the St. Louis Blue’s rookie development camp and represented the Blues in August at the Traverse City rookie tournament. Here is a young man who has seen what it takes to develop as a professional, and has shown consistently positive development every month of the season. I wrote about Fox’s 2015 NHL Draft hopes here last year.
- NHL Central Scouting:
- 2015 Final – #139
- Midterm – Not Ranked
- Final – Not Ranked
- DraftAnalyst.com: #329
The only concerning aspect of Fox’s season splits is his +/- numbers went from acceptable on a weak defensive team to disappointing on a weak defensive team following the trade of Harper and Marchment. Fox spent the majority of the second half of the season on a line with Cramarossa and Laishram. From observations, the impression was made that the trio was drowning against secondary competition in the back half of the season, but I’m without the analytical statistics to back it up. It is likely that Fox would have a favourable Corsi number, which could be a positive. Fox had a 13.8% shooting percentage, which is pretty average for OHL scorers.
If we use Cristian Roatis’ NHLE current conversation calculator here, we’re able to estimate that Fox would currently have an NHLE: 19. 82 GP, 11 G, 8 A, 19 Pts. If he’s able to build on these totals, there is an outside shot of a bottom-six career in his future.
WHAT’S BEING SAID?
- Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: “Trent has established himself as one of Hamilton’s core pieces moving forward. The 6’3 center looked quicker this year and really improved his consistency away from the puck. He’s living up to the Fox name by becoming quite the pest and with his size, he’s got the potential to become a real physical beast down the middle. I don’t know if he’s got his brother’s shot and release, but he’s most definitely a more well rounded offensive player at the same age.” (Source)
- Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects: “A solid all-around forward that fits the center mold very well. Brings a physical element to his game as well as a quick stick to knock pucks away from opponents and create turnovers. Has considerable size and uses it to his advantage. All-in-all, a very promising player that will continue to get better and better as he figures out his identity as a hard to play against two-way centre.” (2015 – Source)
Trent Fox’s assets are his shooting abilities, his defensive acumen and his ability to grind out the opposition. Fox showed that he is very willing and capable of pulling the trigger this season, shooting from just about anywhere on the ice. He gets the shot off very quickly with little indication that he’s going to shoot the puck, he has a quick snap shot he utilizes from the half-wall that he tries to use to trick goalies and defenders. He needs to work on getting this shot off lower so that it rebounds into the slot. There was a lot of scoring opportunities that died because he ripped a shot right into the crest of the goalie. Fox is able to get off these shots as he is very strong when it comes to entering the offensive zone while controlling the puck, while keeping his head up and reading the play. Fox has enough hockey sense to identify when a pass or a shot is the correct play, and this is why I believe analytical data sets would prove he is a strong possession option at the OHL level.
Fox was labeled as lanky a year ago at this time, and it was clear by the end of the season that scouts would be less concerned that he would get pushed around in a men’s league. Fox is about 6’3″ and 200 lbs, all while being very lean. He seems to have filled out his frame evenly this season, as his upper body strength and his balance were both impressive during in game situations. Fox was very difficult to remove from the puck, and what the coaching staff must have loved was that he wins puck battles along the boards. In the corner, behind the net, in the crease, Fox finds the puck and distributes it to his open linemates.
The Hamilton Bulldogs had difficulties establishing their defensive systems in their own end this season, but Fox was not apart of the trend his teammates suffered in their own end. He is strong positional back-checking forward, leaning on his training as a centre.
Fox did spend the season as a winger. He proved to a poor face-off option this season when he did take draws. This could have been because he is likely to tie up the man on the dot, and his wingers had an unfavourable percentage of collecting the loose puck. Management identified early his struggles to win the draw, and limited his opportunities in the circle.
WHERE WILL HE GO?
There was some indications early in the year that Fox could be a re-entry selection in this years draft. He has the size and positional abilities, combined with an increase in offensive output, to make scouts give him a second look. I think that he did a good job representing his capability to develop as a professional when he was in Traverse City, and caught the eye of a few scouts during the year.
I’m not confident we’ll hear his name called on draft day, but would be glad if I’m wrong. I think that Fox is going to need to continue developing on the same curve he’s been on, and is a candidate to be an over-age feel good story when he is signed after an impressive 2018/19 season. I predict that if he can increase his foot speed, Fox could have the type of season that the Peterborough Petes enjoyed out of Eric Cornel as an over-age forward.
THE 2016 NHL DRAFT SERIES
- Who Do We Have With Ben Gleason
- Who Do We Have With Cole Candella
- Who Do We Have With Ondrej Kachyna
- Who Do We Have With Brandon Saigeon
- Who Do We Have With Luke Kutkevicius
- Who Do We Have With Matt Luff
- Who Do We Have With Connor Hicks
Feature Image: Rick Denham / Hamilton Bulldogs