Could Dane Fox be a sly signing for the Canucks?
Image via CKSN
According to the Erie Otters’ forward’s sister, OHL leading scorer and undrafted free-agent Dane Fox has agreed to an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks:
— Megg (@megg_fox) December 28, 2013
The team hasn’t confirmed their latest acquisition yet, but as we learned when Derek Joslin’s sister broke the news of the defenseman signing with the team in the summer of 2012, siblings usually know their stuff.
Read past the jump.
Dane Fox is a 20-year-old forward currently playing in his fifth Ontario Hockey League season this year. Fox has played for both the London Knights and the Erie Otters during his major junior career, and in promising news has been pretty nearly a point per game player since his age 18 season (though he’s battled injury on occassion). Fox has been passed over multiple times at the draft, however, and has attended prospect camps with the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers without earning a contract.
But persistence pays off sometimes, kids. This season Fox has had a breakout campaign while flanking 16-year-old all-universe prospect Connor McDavid and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, speedster Connor Brown. It’s safe to say that Fox’s offensive production has exploded as the six foot, 180 pound forward has managed 41 goals in 35 games as an overager for Erie. Obviously that’s an impressive total, even for an overager, and it puts Fox atop the OHL goal scoring leaderboard.
I’ve watched Erie play a small handful of games this season including once in person and my general impression has been that the 20-year-old forward is not exactly doing the heavy-lifting on his line with McDavid and Brown (more recently Fox has played with fellow Canucks prospect Brendan Gaunce). But whatever, Fox has decent speed, NHL size and is solidly skilled. He’s a decent gamble to evolve into a useful organizational asset for an undrafted overager (so he remains a massive long-shot to make an impact at the NHL level).
The Canucks have a pretty good track record with signing undrafted free-agents (Eddie Lack, Chris Tanev, hell even Darren Archibald has improved his skating and morphed into a capable professional). So Fox will look to follow in their footsteps, and anyway is a relatively intriguing addition to the lower end of the team’s prospect pool.
UPDATE: Here’s what our pal Corey Pronman’s had to say about Fox ahead of the 2012 NHL draft (the first draft at which Fox was passed over):
Fox had a decent OHL season for a late birthdate draft prospect, as he produced for both teams he lined up for. Offense likely won’t be Fox’s output to a notable degree in the pro game, though, as looks more like a defensive forward with great agitating qualities and good on-ice intangibles. He’s a fine skater who will be able to keep up with the average pro and has a real good engine that churns his legs as he’ll cover a lot of ice on any given shift. While his projection seems more like a third line type of player, Fox will show flashes of offensive skill, be it with slightly above-average hands or distribution skill, and I could see if his development goes well him spotting on scoring lines here and there. The rare hustle and heart type of player who his coach has used on the point for the power play and of course he gets PK minutes as well in which he shows his defensive effectiveness. Fox can get a little over the top at times with his agitating, but overall has managed to keep his penalty minutes in check.
In my limited viewings I haven’t seen that agitator side of Fox emerge to the extent described by Pronman there. But, hey, there’s always room in my organization for a potential fourth-line penalty-killer and jerkpuck practitioner who can skate…