Scouting report: Justin Faulk


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.

The Basics:

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24 years old.

6’0″ and 215 pounds.

Shoots right.

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UFA in summer of 2020. Has four years remaining on his deal.

Current salary: $5.5 million. (Cap hit of $4.833 milliion)


2011-12 CAR 66 8 14 22 -16 29 5 12 0 0 2 1 101 7.9 0
2012-13 CAR 38 5 10 15 1 15 1 3 1 1 0 0 76 6.6 0
2013-14 CAR 76 5 27 32 -9 37 2 8 0 1 1 0 152 3.3 0
2014-15 CAR 82 15 34 49 -19 30 7 20 2 2 4 0 238 6.3 0
2015-16 CAR 64 16 21 37 -22 27 12 17 0 0 4 0 184 8.7 0
Career 326 49 106 155 -65 138 27 60 3 4 11 1 751 6.5 0

Icetime over his NHL career.


18:56        1:53       3:12

82     24:25
1:59       2:42

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  76     23:24    
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.

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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%

     16-21-37      52.3
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.



Darcy McLeod (@woodguy55 on twitter) from took a look at Faulk’s analytics.

Quality of Competition, Defensive Partners, overall possession rate
-plays the toughest matchups on Carolina
-played mostly with Sekera in 14/15 and Hainsey in 15/16
-CF% w/ Sekera was 52.7% while team overall was 52.5%. Above team average while playing against the tougher match ups is a good result.
-CF% w/ Hainsey was 54.9% while the team was 51.9%, so +3% while playing toughest match ups is a very good result.
Offensive numbers
Shot attempts For/60 = 62.83 while team was 56.1. The team gets more shots with him on the ice despite playing against top competition.
5v5 Pts/60 – 0.93. Tied 43rd out of 197 D-men who played at least 1000 5v5 minutes in last 2 years.  Good result, but not elite.
5v4 Pts/60 – 4.46.  Ranked 18th out of 106 D-men who played at least 100 5v4 minutes in the last 2 years.  Good result, not elite.
5v4 IPP – Powerplay individual points percentage – 75%. Highest on Carolina so you can be comfortable he is the one driving play on the powerplay.
Looks to be a good driver of offense, scoring at a reasonable rate while playing against the best. That is a quality result.

Defensive numbers
5v5 Shot attempts Against/60 = 53.63 while team was 51.8, so the team gets more shots against with him on the ice while playing against top competition.  This isn’t unheard of among D-men who play against top players, but its still not great to see it. He’s a bit leaky defensively 5v5.
4v5 Short Handed Shot attempts Against/60 = 48.13 while the team was 43.4 overall, so he was a significant drag on the PK in terms of allowing shot attempts against. He probably shouldn’t be your main guy on the PK. Other CAR D-men were Hainsey 44.87, Slavin 35.17, and Pesce 32.91.



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
full potential.”

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
        extremely well.
      • 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.
    • Recognizes
      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

vs. him

    • Tough to deter because
      he can make a pass or skate with the puck or skate into the rush and get
      the puck.
    • 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
      quickly transitioning.


    • Which enhances his
      value greatly.


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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Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Morgo_82

    Justin Faulk… Gimme gimme gimme. Oilers need to make this happen, he’s exactly what we need on our first pairing, only if Carolina would be dumb enough to trade him.

  • Intermission

    I love Travis Hamonic as a player and a person but Faulk is the guy we should have been talking about all these months. Plays with heart, has an absolute nuke of a shot, especially on the PP and he’s already played a bunch with Sekera. It makes sense, let’s trade whatever it costs and get him.

    Plus he’s locked up until 2020 on a great contract. Please hockey gods, give us something. (Pretend they didn’t give us Connor haha)

  • Benny Botts

    Was at the Carolina game in January when they were here. He logged about 25 minutes, unleashed a couple bombs on the PP, and moved extremely well, I was very impressed. Never saw him as the #1 option for PC right now till i read this, it was nice to get an insight to his stats and scouting report. Would make a great addition on the top pair. Throw me on the Faulk bandwagon!

  • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

    I’m sorry but I just can’t see them moving Faulk. I get that everybody has a price and there could be a mutually beneficial deal out there but I can’t see Carolina dealing their best player while they are improving.

    Maybe I’m unreasonably high on him but at this point, the only way you could get him is if you give up RNH + Davidson + swapping 1st round picks.

    He is an elite offensive defenseman with good leadership qualities and isn’t bad defensively. Maybe you could go for guys like Slavin and Pesce if you’re looking for cheap young dmen you can mold.

    • Jason Gregor

      Would dealing RNH, Davidson and the #4 for Faulk and #13 be a deal you would do? I honestly would think about it. It addresses a major area of weakness, and many scouts I’ve talked to about the draft say there isn’t a major difference from #4-#14… Food for thought.

      • AJ88

        Sorry, I am not trading RNH at this point, was the real Drai playing in the first half of the season or the second half of the season? I still like the thought of having the 3 centers, moving Drai to the wing if required. I really don’t think the Oilers will land any top Dman, a team is crazy to let one go. What would Drai and Oiler’s first pick land you, just a thought…

        • McRaj

          Wow that is a ransom and could land you quite a bit. I for one agree with you about not being sold on Drai but it seems as if other fan bases love him and from what I read, Drai holds more value than Nuge therefore whatever Nuge plus the pick lands you, Drai plus the pick would land you more. I bet the Oilers could trade Drai straight up for Faulk.

          • IronX

            Drai for Faulk straight up, as an Oiler fan I do it and don’t even flinch.

            But Carolina won’t do it, Drai has what? A full season in the NHL where he looked great for half of one? 2/3 of one?

            Faulk has had proven succes and has developed nicely…. To add up, RHD that can play on the top pairings are in short supply (and high demand)

            If a kid that might or might not be great gets us that D we need so much, we do it, but…. It should take a lot more

      • TKB2677

        I’d do that trade in a heart beat. Yeah it would sting to lose Nuge but you have to give up something of quality to get something of quality back.

        When I look at it from a Carolina point of view, they get a really good, top 6 center, a on the rise, super cheap NHL dman and the chance to get all really good forward with the #4.

        Seems like a win win to me.

      • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

        I think it does benefit both teams but i just don’t think Carolina would do it. Now that Eric Staal is gone, Faulk is the one to market and to lead the team. You could be better off prying Subban given his lower stock right now and using chemistry rifts out east to bring the value low enough to trade for him.

      • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

        Yeah but that’s the point. You can’t just fleece a team for an All-Star defenseman. I wouldn’t want to give up RNH or Davidson but you gotta give something to get something and these days, defensemen are going at a premium.

        Another point, just look at what 2 months of no offense + decent defending Kris Russell got Calgary. All star Faulk producing at over 0.5 PPG locked down for multiple years and less than $6 mil will deservedly fetch a King’s Ransom.

    • Randaman

      Considering they are losing Stahl, they might bite at the right offensive player being offered.

      Nuge and the #4 pick?

      Give to get and I’m not even sure that is enough

      • ubermiguel

        I would want that #4 pick to be in the discussion more than a prospect. Would be more inclined to give up Eberle; Nuge could move over to the wing more easily than Ebs could move to centre; and Nuge is under contract longer.

  • Great White

    If Hamonic taught us anything, it’s that teams don’t trade No. 1 defenceman. They draft them.

    Yes. The Oilers will draft Chychrun.

    If McDavid is our Crosby, that makes Draisaitl our Malkin. And Nurse, Klefbom, and Chychrun will decide who wants to be our Letang.

  • Great White

    Everyone cares way too much about Left-Right defence pairs. GMs do not turn their noses up at NHL players because of the way they shoot. This all started when Hamhuis went to Sochi instead of Seabrook because Hamhuis shot left.

    Left-Right was further galvanized by Suter criticizing Mike Yeo for pairing him with Brodin over Spurgeon.

    In a perfect world, yes it would be nice to be symmetrical. But Chara-Seidenberg bot shot left and won a cup in 2011. Schneider-Lidstrom were effective for many years. Have we forgotten Huddy-Coffey?

  • Bucknuck

    It’s hard to read the comments section these days. It seems like everyone wants to blame “the core” for all the losses and blow it all up. The problem is that the core is the only good part of the team (and Cam Talbot).

    It’s a classic example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    The team needs to improve on Defense, and they may have to give up some great assets to do it. The perception that the core is worthless and expendable because the team keeps losing is erroneous and foolhardy.

    the goal should be to fix the problem WITHOUT creating a new one.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Agree and disagree. We definitely need to improve on defence and we will have to part with important assets to do so. However, you seem to want to lay the blame for losing at the feet of the defence rather than at the feet of Hallsey and co. Is it the defence that turns the puck over 5 times a game in the neutral zone? Is it the defence that sporadically back checks with enthusiasm?

      I guess with a record like the oil there is blame aplenty and the core, the defence and especially mgmt. should face the music.