The 2010 NHL Entry Draft saw seven defenseman drafted in the first round. Some have found success early in their NHL careers, such as Cam Fowler and Erik Gudranson. While others, such as Dylan McIlrath and Derek Forbort, are still floating around in the Minors. In the second round of that draft, the Carolina Hurricanes selected defender Justin Faulk 37th overall from the U.S. National Under 18 Team. The 2010 draft was especially huge for the Hurricanes, because they also selected Jeff Skinner in the first round, and he has matured into a franchise cornerstone alongside Eric Staal.
Now in the 2014-15 season, Faulk is starting to make a huge impact on their blue line, so much so that I believe he is the team’s MVP through their 32 games this season. Faulk has posted an impressive 20 points thus far, good enough to lead the team. As a defenseman, it is unexpected for you to lead the team in scoring, and the only other defender to lead his team in points is Mark Giordano’s team leading 32 points for the Calgary Flames.
The majority of Faulk’s points are assists, which is to be expected as a defenceman making a good first pass on the breakout is essential. With 16 helpers on the season Faulk has certainly done that. He’s also being heavily relied on by Head Coach Bill Peters, playing at least 20 minutes per game on all but two occasions, including tallying an insane 27:02 minutes of ice time on November 7 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
At 22 years old, Faulk hasn’t even hit his prime yet and he still has plenty of hockey left in him. He is playing big minutes every night and has become an efficient offensive producer. The Hurricanes must be pleased that they were able to steal this guy in the second round back in 2010.