Last week, I wrote about Matt Luff as a draft prospect. As luck would have it, today's subject is one of his teammates. He started last season with the Erie Otters and ended up being one of the younger members on the Belleville Bulls. He'll likely be part of the movement to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to a successful beginning on the Ontario Hockey League in 2015-16. Before that, we will know whether he will be drafted at all later next month. This young man is Trent Fox and this is his draft prospect profile.
Who is Trent Fox?
According to his player page at the Ontario Hockey League website, Trent Fox was born on July 16, 1997 and measures at 6'2" and 190 pounds. He is listed as a center who shoots left. He started the season with the Erie Otters and ended up in Belleville by season's end. Erie and OHL fans are probably more familiar with his brother, Dane Fox. He was an undrafted free agent signed by Vancouver in late 2013 and he was the 2013-14 overaged player of the year in the OHL with the Otters. As this December article by Ian Kennedy at the Chatham Voice asserts, Trent wants to carve his own path. In a way, Trent has been forced to as he was traded to Belleville in early January per this article by Kennedy at the Chatham-Kent Sports Network.
His season with Erie and Belleville was his first in the OHL after playing a season with Ridley College. Here are his numbers, from Elite Prospects:
33 points in 64 games isn't that bad for a 17 year old playing his first year in major juniors. However, it has not got him a lot of attention from scouts. In fact, he hasn't received a lot of attention at all.
What Others Say About Trent Fox
To give you an idea of Fox's situation, Central Scouting Services ranked Fox 143rd in their midterm rankings and 139th in their final rankings among North American skaters. This is a ranking for someone that might get drafted, it's not necessarily guaranteed that they will. Ergo, there is only so much information from outside sources about this player.
There are two to note. The first is actually at his player page at Elite Prospects. Here's what Curtis Joe wrote:
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 center. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
The second comes from the man who knows OHL prospects better than most other people who make it available for free. And maybe better than those whose work requires payment. That's none other than Brock Otten of OHL Prospects. He listed Fox at 40th on his list of top 50 draft eligible OHL players. Here's what he wrote about Fox:
Certainly not the same player as his brother Dane was in the OHL. More of a calculated playmaker who shows patience and poise in the offensive end, than an agitating winger with a big shot (which Dane was). The skating concerns are similar to that of his brother at the same age though. He lacks explosiveness, which prevents him from utilizing his strong puck skill and offensive talents. He also needs to get stronger to be able to work more effectively in traffic. But he's a smart player who shows good vision and smarts in close, who I think will develop into a real quality OHL player.
Between the two, I get the impression of why he's rated as low as he is by CSS and why he's not considered as a bigger prospect. It seems to be with his upside. Fox could improve to be a very good OHL player but that has little to do with professional hockey. While it's true that those who make it in pro hockey are generally good junior players, those players have something in their games that makes one think they can play at that level. While Fox is certainly big enough, his issues at skating and other skills suggest that he doesn't have that. Therefore, it's a real possibility he doesn't get drafted.
An Opinion of Sorts
The only video available on Trent Fox is a fight, which doesn't tell me anything. It's not like Fox is a goon of any sorts, given his 27 penalty minutes last season. In any case, it's not a guarantee at all that Fox will be picked. While I understand not many have seen him and wrote about him, the few who have doesn't indicate something Fox does particularly well now that could make him a professional prospect down the road. While Trent doesn't play like his brother Dane, he may have to follow a similar path to get to pro hockey. That is, become a very good player in the OHL and hope that attracts a team to look at him and decides to sign him to an entry-level contract. It's entirely possible as Trent keeps working at it.
Should he get drafted, it would likely be in the sixth or seventh round. The Devils do have a sixth round pick. Would it be worth using it on Trent Fox? Maybe. At that point in the draft, teams are essentially throwing darts and hoping they hit something. The prospects at this point are going to be flawed in some way or form, be it with a lack of upside, standout traits, an injury history, or something else. If they've seen him and think that in a year or two, some real promise will show up along with being a better player in the OHL, then I think a selection would be justifiable. Fox looks like someone who's going to be in the OHL until he can't be eligible; I just don't know if the project may be worth it. I'd rather have the Devils look for someone who was wildly productive but was passed over for some reason or maybe someone who clawed their way onto an international team. But they could do worse than Trent Fox or someone like him in the sixth round. I wouldn't complain about that pick being used on Fox or someone similar.
Now that you've learned a little more about Trent Fox, what do you think? Would you want the Devils to draft him in the sixth round if he's available? Will he even be drafted? Will he end up following his brother's footsteps in that he'll get NHL consideration should he turn out to be a great player in the OHL? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Trent Fox in the comments. Thank you for reading.