Justin Faulk: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

Justin Faulk: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

For anyone catching up, a menu of previous player (and also coaching and GM) report cards can be found at the bottom of the article. Justin Faulk’s starting point for the 2016-17 season During a 2015-16 season that saw the transformation of the Hurricanes’ blue to youth accelerate rapidly with the drafting of Noah Hanifin and then the early rise of Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk was suddenly the young leader of an even younger group. His individual season was somewhat separate from the transformation. He had a limited run with Jaccob Slavin and logged a few shifts here and there with Noah Hanifin, but for the most part Faulk was in a familiar role as a first pairing defenseman and with a familiar partner in Ron Hainsey. Faulk’s 2015-16 season was one of multiple story lines. Out of the gate he launched into a torrid power play goal scoring run, scoring 12 power play goals (all of his goals to that point) in his first 30 games. His even strength play was mixed. He and partner Ron Hainsey were just ‘meh’ defensively. The second half of the season was even more of a mixed bag. Faulk’s scoring finally slowed in February and then an injury, attempted return and trip back to the injured list made for a disjointed second half of the season. Faulk entered the offseason having added ‘big power play goal scorer’ to his list of achievements as he looked toward the 2016-17 season aiming to put it all together and be the #1 defenseman for a young and improving blue line. He also...
Could Justin Faulk challenge Brent Burns for the defenseman goal scoring title in 2017-18?

Could Justin Faulk challenge Brent Burns for the defenseman goal scoring title in 2017-18?

Brent Burns in a class by himself for defenseman goal scoring Through 75 games, Brent Burns has 27 goals, already matching his career high set in 2015-16. That goal total and a chance to hit 30 goals is astounding for a defenseman in today’s scoring-lite NHL. Second place for defense scoring is Shea Weber with less than two-thirds (17 goals) of Burns’ total. Brent Burns really is in a class by himself in terms of goal scoring from the blue line.   Justin Faulk with a chance to finish in (distant) second place in 2016-17 With his 2 goals on Monday, Justin Faulk tied his career high from the 2015-16 season with 16 goals. He pulled ahead of a small pack of defensemen when he reached 16 and is only 1 behind Shea Weber who is second in the NHL with 17. Faulk’s goal-scoring prowess is impressive in its own right. But could Justin Faulk catch Burns in 2017-18 if he puts it all together? I would say that it is a long shot but maybe not as far-fetched as a first glance might indicate. The difference between 16 and 27 is obviously significant, but when you dig into the details of what Faulk has accomplished and more significantly how he has done so in the past 2 seasons, the potential exists for Faulk to move up from his 2016-17 total. The fact that Justin Faulk just turned 25 years old also offers hope that he may not have peaked yet.   Justin Faulk: A tale of 2 goal-scoring binges 2015-16 Justin Faulk’s 2015-16 scoring was all about the...
Justin Faulk rumored to be on the trade block per Jim Matheson from Edmonton Journal

Justin Faulk rumored to be on the trade block per Jim Matheson from Edmonton Journal

Now 3 days from the NHL trade deadline, the rumblings, rumors and some amount of plain BS is picking up. Long-time Edmonton Journal writer Jim Matheson just suggested on Twitter that Justin Faulk was available and that the Hurricanes wanted a center. As far as an Edmonton/Carolina connection, the next leap is obviously a deal with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Faulk as the primary components. I wrote recently about the possibility of trading Faulk in the Matt Duchene context. And I went on a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rant at the beginning of last summer that had him near the top of my wish list. (That was also the post that called the Teuvo Teravainen/Bryan Bickell trade 1 week before it happened.) And it is the season for trade speculation, so I am at least intrigued and curious. For me it really comes down to evaluating and projecting Justin Faulk. I have been hard on Faulk all season, rightfully in my opinion. The offensive part of his game has been fine even though his power play scoring is down. But defensively, especially when pressed to play against other teams’ best players on the road, he has struggled defensively where is a massive minus 24 in only 26 games. The hard decision and the reason Ron Francis is paid the big bucks is to look into the future and decide what is a reasonable estimation for Justin Faulk’s play going forward. The 2016-17 version of Justin Faulk Is is reasonable to believe that the 2016-17 version is what one should rightfully expect going forward? For me, the 2016-17 version of Justin Faulk...
Would I consider trading Justin Faulk? If so, what would it take?

Would I consider trading Justin Faulk? If so, what would it take?

First, to be clear, I am aware of no rumors that Duchene is available. My writing is basic speculation on my part based on where Colorado is in the standings right now and the fact that Duchene was rumored to be available over the summer. Also, I am not aware of any sources saying that the Carolina Hurricanes have any interest at all in trading Justin Faulk.   The spark – Possibility that Matt Duchene could become available Tuesday during a lunchtime scrum on Twitter, I got into a conversation that started with me saying that I thought timing was good for Ron Francis to pounce on adding Matt Duchene via trade from Colorado. I think Matt Duchene is a great fit on multiple levels: 1) He skates well which fits well in Peters’ system. 2) He could fill the center slot that has been a revolving door thus far (Lindholm, then Teravainen (and again with Staal out) and then Ryan) and significantly do it in a way that boosts the offense. 3) He brings the perfect balance of being a proven NHL scorer (4 consecutive 20-goal seasons if you prorate the lockout-shorted 2012-13 season) but importantly in the form of a long-term player who is only 25 years old. The Colorado Avalanche are sputtering right now at the very bottom of the Western Conference with only 19 points in 24 games. This is the time of year when NHL GMs sometimes go knee-jerk reaction out of frustration or desperation.   What does this have to do with Justin Faulk? Important to note, I did NOT say that I...
7 D in 7 Days: Justin Faulk – Cornerstone for today and tomorrow

7 D in 7 Days: Justin Faulk – Cornerstone for today and tomorrow

Saving the best for last and also maybe a well-timed look at the future for suffering Canes fans, this post wraps up a ‘7 D in 7 days’ series by featuring the leader of the Hurricanes blue line present and future – Justin Faulk. If you are just catching up, here are links to the previous parts: 1-John-Michael Liles 2-Ryan Murphy 3-Brett Pesce 4-Noah Hanifin 5-Michal Jordan 6-Ron Hainsey   Justin Faulk relative to normal defenseman development I think an important starting point for Justin Faulk is understanding where he is right now and how that plots relative to normal growth. Even good young defensemen usually spend 1 if not 2 years at some lower level after being drafted and then are often still 1-2 years away from entering the NHL. Even then, there is a gradual progression upward in terms of responsibility and where they sit on the depth chart. For every Aaron Ekblad-type headline, there are 9-10 other defensemen who ultimately become great players but do so on something more like a 4-6 year schedule after being drafted. Justin Faulk was drafted in 2010. If you do the math of 2 years at lower level plus most of 2 years in the AHL, Justin Faulk should be in his second NHL season and just starting to settle in start a climb up the depth chart. Instead he is a bonafide #1 NHL defensemen, an alternate captain and a leader of the team in terms of ice time, scoring and just about everything else. Not to be lost in his rapid ascension is the fact that he is...