24-Year-Old Defenseman – Carolina Hurricanes
Justin Faulk Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $29 million contract extension with the Panthers in March of 2014.
Faulk scored a goal and added an assist in Sunday's 4-3 overtime loss to Vancouver.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After emerging on the fringe of the fantasy radar with a 32-point campaign in 2013-14, Faulk took a quantum leap forward this past season. The 23-year-old announced himself as a dangerous offensive defenseman, potting 15 goals and supplying 49 points in 82 games. The puck-moving blueliner finished third among all NHL defensemen with seven power-play goals, helping the Hurricanes’ man advantage unit operate at an impressive 18.8 percent success rate. He also finished fourth among all NHL rearguards with a whopping 238 shots on goal and contributed a clutch four game-winning tallies. Faulk’s willingness to jump into the play and his tremendous offensive instincts could make him a top-10 fantasy blueliner entering the 2015-16 season, if he's not already being universally viewed as such. The youngster epitomizes everything you could want in an under-25 defenseman, and with talented newcomer James Wisniewski potentially set to become Faulk’s new power-play partner, there's no reason the 2010 second-round draft pick can’t make a run at the 50-point mark this season.
Last season, Faulk set career-highs in points (32), games played (76), shots on goal (152) and blocked shots (102), while proving to be one of the Hurricanes’ better blue line options, playing on the top defensive pairing alongside Andrej Sekera. In return, the team inked Faulk to a six-year, $29 million contract extension in March, which should keep him in Raleigh long term. From a fantasy standpoint, perhaps the biggest knock against Faulk is his supporting cast, as the ‘Canes are one of the weaker teams in the league offensively (2.50 goals per game in 2013-14; 22nd in the league), giving him few high-scoring teammates to dish the puck to every night. However, at just 21 years old, Faulk has not yet hit his prime and figures to keep getting better.
Faulk is a talented offensive defenseman with upside. He had 15 points in 38 games last season. He is just 19 but the potential is there for him to become a solid value buy for alert fantasy owners. But, your window for a steal maybe fast closing as Faulk is a strong candidate to make the U.S. roster for the upcoming 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
If you find yourself looking for a promising, young defenseman, be certain to target Faulk, who finished second among rookie defensemen in points with 22. Faulk saw substantial power-play time in his 66 games and led the Hurricanes in average time on ice; 12 of his 22 points came on the power play. A hapless defensive club, Carolina looked to get their 2010 second-round selection involved with the big club early and often this past season, and will likely give him a similarly high number of opportunities to develop in 2012-2013. Faulk is of more value in keeper leagues and has much upside in deep single-season seasons as well.
Evidently in need of blueliners for the future, the Hurricanes selected five defensemen between seven rounds of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, with the American-born Faulk hearing his name called in the second round (No. 37 overall). As a freshman for the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2010-11, Faulk registered 33 points (8 G, 25 A) and 47 penalty minutes in 39 games before winning a national title with his collegiate club in 2011. The high-scoring rearguard also was able to get a head start on his pro career by appearing in three rounds of the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs with the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes’ minor league affiliate. It’s reasonable to expect more seasoning out of Faulk before he heads to the NHL, but his signing a three-year contract with the Hurricanes last April tells us that Carolina is serious about the young prospect. He’ll be one to consider for keeper leagues in the near future.
The Hurricanes went after Faulk with the 37th pick of the 2010 Entry Draft. At an even 6-foot, Faulk is on the shorter side for a defenseman, but he compensates by handling the puck well and having a rifle for a shot. Faulk is just another hint that Carolina wants to pump more offense into their blue line for the future.