For the third straight season, Carolina Hurricanes Defenseman Justin Faulk is going to the NHL All-Star, but this time, it’s not without controversy.
The National Hockey League made a surprise move today selecting Justin Faulk as the
Carolina Hurricanes representative at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles. The now three time all-star has been the best offensive defensemen for the Canes this season. He leads the team in goals from the blue line with 7 and is tied for the team lead in points from defenseman with 16 points.
Faulk is a worthy selection for the All-Star Game, but his selection is still surprising. Even though he has been the most offensively productive blueliner, his defensive play has been very inconsistent. During the first quarter of the season, his play was rather sloppy. His play only really came on since December on.
Perhaps the most surprising part of Faulk’s selection is that there were definitely more deserving players on the Canes roster. The first being Jeff Skinner. He hasn’t been as great as he was in October and November, but with 29 points in 39 games, he is having one of the best seasons of his career. Game in and game out, Skinner has been one of the most valuable Hurricanes this season.
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The same can be said about Victor Rask. The Swede, now in his third season, has put together quite an incredible year so far. Even though he has had a rough couple of weeks offensively, Rask still trails Skinner by only 1 point for the team lead. In short, Rask has had a more complete season than Faulk.
Finally, the probably most deserving player is Faulk’s defensive buddy, Jaccob Slavin. He has played every game this season and is tied with Faulk for Carolina’s highest scoring defenseman. On top of that, Slavin is the most complete d-man on the Hurricanes roster. He leads his team in shifts, time on ice, blocks, and is part of the league’s best penalty kill. Plus his offensive instincts and skating are still very underrated. Faulk may have gotten the nod from the league, but Slavin is the fans all-star.
Clearly, Faulk’s selection to the All-Star Game shows the league is focused more on name recognition rather than performance. Faulk has not put together the season he has the past two years, but was still chosen. Faulk’s name means more to the rest of the league than say Slavin or even Skinner. This isn’t just a Canes phenomena. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews was selected to the game as well, despite him having a very underwhelming season by his standards.
Justin Faulk has been banged up this season and it is possible he could miss the events to recover. That would open up a spot for a Skinner, Rask, or Slavin. Either way, it’s great to have multiple players vying for the All-Star Game. That hasn’t happened in a while.