#27 / Defenseman
Height: 6’0” | Weight: 217 | Born: March 20, 1992
Birthplace: South St. Paul, MN | Acquired: Drafted 37th, 2010 (Carolina)
Assets: Has tremendous skating ability, a wealth of offensive acumen and good shot. Is plenty confident with the puck on his blade. Plays a smart, mature game, tending to the small details. Is a major asset on the power play.
Flaws: Must continue to work on his defensive-zone coverage, as well as his decision-making ability, since he logs huge minutes. Is sturdy and strong, but lacks ideal National Hockey League size at 6-0, 215 pounds.
Career Potential: Excellent offensive defenseman with a little upside.
Why You Should Know Who He Is: Chances are good that you already know who Faulk is - he’s the longest-tenured ‘Cane (debuting in 2011), a three-time All-Star, and he’s played more games against the Caps in his career (32) than he has against any other team. He led all Carolina blueliners in power-play ice time and points this season and was one of just a dozen defensemen League-wide to average as much time as he did on the power play (2:56 per night), shorthanded (1:43) and even-strength (17:46). In other words, he’s in many ways the Hurricanes’ John Carlson. He’s skated almost exclusively with Brett Pesce at even strength for most of the second-half of the season, forming a formidable duo that controlled roughly 54 percent of shot attempts at fives and a whopping 64 percent of goals scored (29 of 45) on the campaign.
How the Caps Can Stop Him: Keep doing whatever it is that they’ve been doing - per Natural Stat Trick, the Caps were essentially break-even with Faulk on the ice at five-on-five (which is relatively good) this season, but at 55 percent in expected goals and 71 percent in actual goals. Push Faulk with speed and skill (looking at you, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana) and, of course, try to limit his time on the power play. Justin Faulk’s stock may have dropped over the past couple of years, but make no mistake - he’s still a player that can and likely will have an impact on this playoff series.