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Philip Botti The Hockey Writers

Published on Friday, January 30, 2015





Justin Faulk is Proving His Importance

The only representative in the 2015 NHL All-Star game for the Carolina Hurricanes was Justin Faulk. His choice over other NHL “Star” defenseman saw backlash from fans and writers around the league. Faulk finished the All-Star game with two assists, and when he returned to his team he showed his impact on the growing storm that is the Hurricanes. Justin Faulk is having his best offensive season of his career in a rough year for the ‘Canes. Does the first half of this season solidify Justin Faulk as a building block for the ‘Canes future?

Career High

Justin Faulk has 28-points this season, and is four points away from his career high from last season. Faulk is fourth on the team with 9-goals this season, which is also a career high for the young defenseman. Faulk has a team high 19-assists which puts him in second place on the team in overall points, right behind captain Eric Staal. Faulk is having his best offensive season in his career, and it is a perfect time for the ‘Canes. Before their recent success, the ‘Canes have had trouble scoring goals. Having Faulk add to the offense has been a big help to the team. Faulk gives the ‘Canes another weapon which is great for a team who is not getting the goal numbers from players being paid specifically to score goals.

Can He Become a Defensive Pillar?

If you look at the minutes played by all players on the ‘Canes roster this season, you will see that Justin Faulk blows everyone out of the water. He is averaging 24:05 ATOI this season, and the only other player near that is his partner Andrej Sekera. His offensive game is coming along nicely, but his defense needs to catch up with his offense. He is not terrible on defense by any means, but he does need to polish up his play in his own zone. Faulk goes up against the top line of opposing teams every game. With such a high ceiling fans will have to keep an eye to see if Faulk can grow more into his defensive game. Right now his offense makes it easy to forget about some of his defensive shortcomings.

(Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

(Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

What Faulk Means to the ‘Canes

The successful teams in the NHL have a strong defensive pillars that are known around the league. The Hurricanes are looking for success and Faulk gives them the first step into building a winning hockey team. Without a miraculous winning streak for the rest of the season, the playoffs seem out of the question for the ‘Canes this year. Looking toward the future, Faulk’s growth can give the team a defensive pillar to build around.  Faulk’s ceiling looks very high now, and the ‘Canes would be smart to bank on him as being a big centerpiece for the future. Faulk is not as flashy as some of the other “star” defenseman around the league, but he has more points than players like Drew Doughty, and Ryan Suter this season.

Faulk and the Future in Raleigh

Justin Faulk recently registered his 4th game winning goal this season. The ‘Canes have seven wins in January and look like they have had a fire lit underneath them by coach Bill Peters.

The last time the ‘Canes won a cup, Frantisek Kaberle led the team’s defenseman with 44-points in 2005-2006. Since then the only two defenseman that cracked 40-points for the ‘Canes were Joni Pitkanen who had 46-points in 2009-2010 season, and Joe Corvo, who scored 40-points in 2010-2011. Faulk is on pace to have the most successful offensive season for a Hurricanes defenseman since the team won their only Stanley Cup. There is no question that Faulk is important to the future success of the Carolina Hurricanes. A big test will come if the ‘Canes move his d-partner Andrej Sekera, who has a lot of rumors flying around him about getting moved at the trade deadline. The ‘Canes spent their first round draft pick on Haydn Fleury this season, a highly touted defensive prospect, and have AHL All-Star Ryan Murphy returning to the NHL squad. Murphy has been impressive of late, and could be a good replacement next to Faulk if Sekera gets traded. The ‘Canes January shows that this team has fight left in them, and adding more talent to this team could really push them over the edge. It won’t come this season, but the ‘Canes future looks bright. Justin Faulk is apart of that future, and is an important building block for the future of the ‘Canes.


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