Our Scouting Report series continues today, and I will continue to focus on the biggest need for the Oilers; A right shot top-four defenceman. Last week we looked at Jason Demers, a potential UFA, and today we’ll look at defender Justin Faulk, who would significantly bolster the Oilers blueline, but they would need to acquire him via trade.
24 years old.
6’0″ and 215 pounds.
UFA in summer of 2020. Has four years remaining on his deal.
Current salary: $5.5 million. (Cap hit of $4.833 milliion)
Icetime over his NHL career.
18:56 1:53 3:12
18:52 2:25 2:07
2013 38 24:00 18:22 2:59 2:38
2012 66 22:50
17:59 1:49 3:02
Faulk has played top-pairing minutes since he debuted in the NHL at 19 years young. Faulk was the 37th pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft. He played one season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and when the season ended, he signed with the Hurricanes and played 13 playoff games in the American Hockey league. He played 12 games in the AHL to start the 2011/2012 season before being recalled.
As a rookie he played mainly with Jay Harrison, who was 28 years old with only 58 games of NHL experience. He’d played 401 AHL games, so he had pro experience, but not at the NHL level. Faulk and Harrison were the top pair in Carolina in 2011/2012, and the fact Faulk wasn’t completely overwhelmed is a testament to his ability.
During the lockout shortened season he tallied 24 points in 31 games in the AHL before heading to the NHL in January. Harrison and Tim Gleason split time evenly with him.
In his third and fourth seasons he played mainly with Andrej Sekera and his possession numbers, not surprisingly, improved. He was older, but Sekera is more talented than Harrison or Gleason.
GP G-A-PTS CF%
82 15-34-49 55.1
76 5-27-32 51.9
2013 38 5-10-15 49.4
2012 66 8-14-22 48.2
This past season Faulk played 55% of his EV time with Ron Hainsey, 21% with John Micheal-Liles, 13% with Jaccob Slavin, 6% with Noah Hanafin and the other 5% with Michal Jordan, Ryan Murphy and Brett Pesce. He didn’t spend much time with a proven a veteran top-pairing defender. The Canes blueline is similar to the Oilers, in terms of having a lot of youth.
He was fourth on the Hurricanes in goals and fifth in points. The Canes were 27th in GF with 196, only three behind the Oilers’ 199, but the Canes allowed 21 fewer goals than the Oilers with an equally young blueline.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS…
Looks to be a good driver of offense, scoring at a reasonable rate while playing against the best. That is a quality result.
This week’s scouting report on Faulk comes from a current scout, an active NHL player and Craig Button from TSN.
Here is the player’s assessment of Faulk:
body (215/218lbs) who can be physical.
A legit goal scoring threat, especially on the PP. Can
see McDavid feeding him one-timers all day.
be a liability defensively, makes risky plays at times.
captain with some leadership qualities. Has no
NHL playoff experience.
The scout gave these evaluations:
“Faulk has been their best defenseman the last
couple of seasons. Usually it takes defensemen a little longer to find their way,
but he has performed above his age. He logs the most
minutes, plays against
the oppositions’ best lines every game and hasn’t been overwhelmed.
“Excellent on the PP. He has a bomb of a shot and has put up terrific offensive numbers. I would
compare him to a younger Shea Weber at this point in his career, but without as much snarl as Weber. He has grown into a young leader of this
team. Is a likeable teammate, works hard and has yet to reach his
Here is Button’s report:
I don’t see him as an elite #1, but as a solid #2 D-man and a player who can be a key, key contributor on the blue line.
- With his feet & his
- Can pass the puck
- Excellent shot and deceptive
in how quick he gets it off, how hard it is and how accurate he is with
- Can skate the puck up
the ice and escape pressure.
- He’s quick and fast
with very good agility & it affords him the opportunity to shake
opponents and create space for himself.
- Vision is very good
& he can open up ice with subtle moves.
- Confident & poised
with the puck.
- Gets puck to dangerous
spots at right times and gets puck to teammates who can take advantage.
- Uses deception and can
make plays off the fake shot.
opportunities to exploit situations and has a quick strike ability.
- Wants to make a
- Catalyst for initiating
- Has a ‘daring’ about
him which is more about jamming it down your throat rather than an
- Tough to deter because
he can make a pass or skate with the puck or skate into the rush and get
- Defensively, you want
him to expend energy defending cycle and playing down low.
- He’s too smart &
recognizes opportunities so if you are casual or careless with puck, he’s
- Which enhances his
Faulk would be a major upgrade on the Oilers’ right side. He plays a lot EV and would excel on the PP in Edmonton. He hasn’t had much offensive skill to work with in Carolina the past few years, yet he was still top-20 in PP production for D-men. His offensive numbers would improve in Edmonton, especially on the PP with Connor McDavid and company.
He isn’t tall, but he’s heavy and low to the ground. He isn’t a liability in battles along the boards and in front of the net. He’s only 24, and I suspect the risky part of his game will slowly diminish in his mid to late 20s, like we’ve seen with other offensive defensemen.
What would it cost to acquire him and why would the Hurricanes trade him?
I can tell you with certainty the Hurricanes would consider moving him for the right deal. They recognize if they want something good, an offensive centre and something else, then they need to give up something. They are high on Hanafin, Slavin and Pesce. They also have Hayden Fleury (seventh overall in 2014) in their system. Moving Faulk isn’t their first choice, but they will listen.
The Canes are looking for a scoring centre and a scoring winger. Would Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Griffen Reinhart for Faulk work? What about Jordan Eberle and Brandon Davidson?
Any deal with Faulk would have to include one of RNH or Eberle, and something else.
Faulk’s age, skillset, potential growth and four year contract have him as the #1 option I would look to acquire if I was Peter Chiarelli. It won’t be an easy trade, and it would likely cost you a few very good pieces, but I believe he’d be worth it.
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