Carolina Hurricanes: What the Return for Justin Faulk Could Look Like

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 30: Justin Faulk #27 of the Carolina Hurricanes shoots the puck during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 30, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 30: Justin Faulk #27 of the Carolina Hurricanes shoots the puck during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 30, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes have quite a few decisions to make this offseason. Their main goal, according to GM Don Waddell, is to make as few changes to personnel as possible, but here is what a few potential trades involving Justin Faulk could look like.

Justin Faulk is, by no means, a bad hockey player. The most tenured member of the Carolina Hurricanes’ roster has stuck with the team through thick and thin for the past eight or so years, and for that I am grateful.

The Carolina Hurricanes defenseman has been a staple of the defense for years and was once touted as and groomed as the next defensive messiah of the team. His heavy shot and offensive prowess had him as a incredible player that can play both sides of the puck.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ defense has been on of their strengths this past season, and Faulk has been a huge part of that. Often paired with Brett Pesce, Faulk has been a tremendous offensive presence on the blueline, and is the owner of arguably one of the Hurricanes’ most insane goals in recent memory.

That being said, Justin Faulk is also the owner of quite a few defensive mistakes and missteps that caused more than a few games to result against the Hurricanes’ favor. Keep in mind that this article is 100% my own opinion, and is not meant to represent a Universal Objective Truth™.

I can see quite a few teams showing interest in the 26 year-old blueliner. He’s quick, offensively gifted, and intelligent. Faulk is headed into the final year of a 6-year, $4.8 million AAV contract, and Don Waddell has expressed his interest in extending Faulk yet again.

If Waddell is unable to extend Faulk (due to salary negotiations or otherwise), the first team I could see him going to is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is in desperate need of a solid right-shot offensive defenseman; cue Justin Faulk.

I could see the Hurricanes giving up Faulk and a late round (maybe 5th or 6th round) pick for a developing forward such as Kasperi Kapanen and possibly a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Kapanen scored 20 goals and 24 assists, for a combined 44 points in 78 games played this past season.

Kapanen isn’t a bad player, and still has yet to hit his prime. The past season showed tremendous development on Kapanen’s part; he’d make a solid 2nd or 3rd line option for the Hurricanes, especially if Justin Williams does indeed decide to hang up the skates.

The next team I can see showing interest in Justin Faulk is the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, despite having arguably the best player in the world, missed the playoffs for a second year in a row.

This wasn’t for lack of offense, however, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each turned in over 100 points this season. I believe the Oilers could benefit from an offensive defenseman like Justin Faulk (along with an early round pick), in return for a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Nugent-Hopkins turned in a solid season this year, scoring 28 goals and 41 assists for a combined 69 points in 82 games played. This would not only place the young center-turned-winger within the ranks of the Hurricanes’ “ironmen”, but would also place him among the top point-getters on the team.

Nugent-Hopkins has been solid ever since being moved from center to wing in favor of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but could still make his return back to center for the Hurricanes. The 26 year-old forward still has tremendous upside, and would no doubt bring a consistent scoring option (especially on the powerplay) to a young, developing offensive corps.

There are quite a few other teams I could see showing interest in Faulk, but these two trades stick out to me as being the most mutually beneficial I could think of. And, again, these two trades are nothing but pure speculation and personal opinion, and are not meant to represent anything other than speculation.

I, for one, would be perfectly happy with Justin Faulk being extended (for the right dollar amount), but a trade involving Faulk is not outside the realm of possibility. Crazier things have happened, Caniacs. What do you think?

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Question for CC Readers: Do you agree with these trades? What other types of returns could we see for Justin Faulk in the event Waddell was open to trade talks regarding Faulk?