Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes’ top defenseman, has found his form again
Justin Faulk came into the year riding high expectations. Last season Faulk was on a roll scoring 15 goals and appearing in his third All-Star(the Carolina Hurricanes’ only representative) game until a late-season injury sidelined him. Many analysts had Faulk pegged to continue his growth this season as well and reach the upper echelon of an offensive defenseman. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned for the 24-year-old defenseman to start the year. The past two months though are a different story as Faulk has settled back into his groove and reasserted himself as one of the best offensively minded defensemen in the league.
A Slow Start
Justin Faulk, just like the Carolina Hurricanes, did not get off to the best start for the 2017 season. During his first 23 games of the season, Faulk scored only three goals with a total of seven points. Faulk’s first 23 games last year saw him score 8 goals and 18 points. That’s definitely a step drop in production especially at a time when the Carolina Hurricanes were struggling to win games.
Why the sharp difference? Faulk was still putting up great Corsi and Expected Goals numbers
More from Cardiac Cane
- 2023 Southeast Rookie Showcase: Takeaways from the Canes’ Strong Showing in Florida
- Week Two Coverage Of College Hockey In NC
- Derek Stepan Ends His On Ice Career As A Hurricane
- The Southeast Rookie Showcase Will Be a Good Look at Carolina’s Future
- Noesen Ready To Provide Depth For Canes
showing that when he was on the ice the Hurricanes were a better team. Most likely the difference could just simply boil down luck. Faulk’s shooting percentage was a 4.5% over two points lower than his career 6.6% average. Faulk was still driving play he just wasn’t getting the bounces.
Getting Hot for the New Year
It was during this time that a lot of trade rumors began to swirl around Justin Faulk despite the fact that he was still playing good offensive hockey. I obviously disagreed, but I could see where those people were coming from. I argued that with Faulk’s good play it was just a matter of time before he started returning to his old form, and since December he has. In Faulk’s next 21 games his stat line is seven goals with seventeen points, and his shooting percentage is an amazing 9.9%. Faulk is now tied for fifth among all defensemen in goals with 10. And perhaps the greatest indicator of Faulk’s return to excellence is the lack of people demanding for his trade every day.
Faulk’s story is common among the NHL. People often conflate goals or the lack thereof as the only way to determine a player’s worth. That’s a deeper discussion for another day, but Faulk’s example here shows that sometimes a player’s lack of production can just be chalked up to bad luck. Not always of course, but luckily for the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s the explanation this time. For a player of Faulk’s caliber, it couldn’t be any other way.