NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Adam Fox, Antti Raanta's Knee Injury, More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

Adam Fox could decide to return to Harvard so he could become a free agent in 2020.
Adam Fox could decide to return to Harvard so he could become a free agent in 2020.Damian Strohmeyer/Associated Press

When college players are drafted into the NHL, they will often play one or two years at that level before signing a contract with the team that owns its draft rights.

However, if a player decides to stay in college for the full four years of his career, a different set of options opens up. The drafting team has the rights to the player for four years. But if he does not sign with that team, he becomes a true free agent and can work out the best deal with any team willing to employ him.

It only happens on occasion, though, and the latest player to choose that route appears to be Harvard defenseman Adam Fox.

Jeff Cox of the New England Hockey Journal tweeted that Fox will return to Harvard next year to complete his senior season.

The 21-year-old was drafted in 2016 by the Calgary Flames, and his rights were included in the trade that sent Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland from Calgary to Carolina last offseason.

Fox has scored 48 points in 32 games for the Crimson in 2018-19, and he is a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award that goes to the top player in NCAA men's hockey.

Longtime NHL insider Bob McKenzie, speaking on NBC's Wednesday night broadcast, said Fox could return to school as Cox tweeted, sign with the Hurricanes or ask Carolina to trade his rights because the Canes have a slew of talented young defensemen.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes have exceeded all expectations and find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt in a year when little was expected of them. With a little more than a week to go before the end of the regular season, it appears goalie Antti Raanta may have a chance to return to the lineup.

The Finn is back practicing with the Coyotes, per Craig Morgan of The Athletic, after being out since November with a knee injury.

Arizona is in ninth place in the playoff race, two points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the eighth and final spot. Colorado defeated the Vegas Golden Knights Wednesday night to move two points ahead of the Coyotes (83-81).

Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet would have to make a difficult decision to insert Raanta into the lineup after such a long absence. Goalie Darcy Kuemper has been playing extremely well for the team, which has just five games remaining.

However, if Kuemper started to suffer from fatigue after playing nearly every game or let in a couple of bad goals early in a match, the coach could insert Raanta if he passes all his tests in practice.

Also, if the Coyotes make the playoffs, then the 29-year-old might be in the goalie rotation and give Arizona something of a solid 1-2 punch in net.

In other news, Mathias Brome is being pursued by the Vegas Golden Knights, and he could make a move from the Swedish Hockey league to the NHL.

According to a report from Swedish Hockey News SE (h/t TSN.ca), the 24-year-old is drawing interest from several NHL teams, including the Golden Knights.

Brome, a talented left wing, has scored 15 goals and 35 assists in 52 games for Mora IK this season.