It’s the offseason (for the Carolina Hurricanes), which means fans are willing to yet again hypothetically trade their best offensive-minded defensemen. It’s not clear why fans seem to be so willing to depart with the three-time all star; however, it does seem like Justin Faulk has “hit his ceiling” with some of the Carolina faithful.
Surprising to no one, Carolina needs offense. With a slew of picks and prospects, the team is in position to make a splash during the offseason. This splash should not include Justin Faulk.
Sure, he is no Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson; but Faulk’s offensive contribution should not be overlooked. The Minnesota native has tallied 37 points in each of the past two seasons. He owns the franchise record with 17 goals scored in a single season by a defenseman and has also been a top-5 goal scorer on the team every year since 2014.
Why would the Canes trade for offense by giving up a player that makes them offensively better? It doesn’t make good hockey sense. Faulk ranked 30th in corsi-for percentage (CF%) among defenders whom played at least 1,000 minutes last season. Among the same sample size, he ranked 26th in corsi-for per 60 minutes (CF60). For more visual minded folks, check out the HockeyViz graphics below. The first graphic represents even strength shots for Carolina when Faulk is off the ice; the second represents the same metric when Faulk is playing. It is evident that Carolina generates more offense when #27 is skating.
Where Justin Faulk really excels is on the powerplay. The alternate captain was on the ice for 60% of the Canes’ man-advantage goals last season. Faulk’s powerplay CF% was an impressive 93.16%; which put him third in the league among defenders playing at least 100 minutes on the man-advantage. He ranked 2nd on the team with 53 PP shots and first on the team with over 200 minutes of PP time.
For a team that struggles as mightily as Carolina in the scoring department, why would they trade a player that generates this much offense? When you consider the fact that he is also signed to a team-friendly deal through the 2020 season; there is no logical reason Ron Francis should trade Justin Faulk unless the return is franchise-altering.
Advanced stats were derived from Puckalytics. Rest in Peace, Corsica.