According to a source, John Jaeckel of the-rink.com is reporting that the Blackhawks have discussed moving the 27th overall pick, acquired in the Ryan Hartman deal to the Predators, in this years draft to the Hurricanes for defemsemen Justin Faulk.
Faulk, 26, tallied 31 points last season ( 8 goals, 23 assists) in 76 games. An assistant captain with the Hurricanes, Faulk was a big presence on the powerplay and shows great instincts in the offensive zone. To go along with 90 blocked shots last year, Faulk netted a 59.9 corsi CF%. If that number is above 50%, it means the team was controlling the puck more often than not with this player on the ice. Advanced metrics are being looked at a lot more now in the NHL and Faulk’s are not bad at all.
Now I have not watched Faulk enough to give you a scouting breakdown or to tell you if he’s a good defensemen for the Blackhawks to acquire, but his stats are solid.
Despite his down year in Carolina, Justin Faulk has been considered an elite defensemen in the NHL over the past few years. He’s shown the potential to be among the league’s elite blueliners on both sides of the puck- Andrew Ahr on Faulk in a story for Canes Country, an SB Nation website.
The Blackhawks could get a really good player at 27, Mattias Samuelsson and K’Andre Miller come to mind. But both of these guys will be off to college and may not see the NHL for quite some time. The Blackhawks do not have time to wait. The time is running out on Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville to win the Stanley Cup again with this core and their jobs are on the line. Making a deal for Faulk or another defensemen makes a lot of sense because the Blackhawks are just a few players away from being contenders again.
Faulk would be a nice addition to the Blackhawks blue line. The hope is Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook bounce back, Bowman believes they will. Jordan Oesterle showed some promise last season and Erik Gustafsson and Jan Rutta were given extensions. Connor Murphy is a question mark right now. With his $3.85 AAV cap hit the next four years and his play last year, I could see the Blackhawks moving on from him. Blake Hillman, Henri Jokiharju, and Gustav Forsling will be pushing for an opening night roster spot as well. Given this much depth in the system, Bowman going best available at eight would be a wise choice. So Faulk, realistically, would be a top four defensemen for coach Q and a solid one at that.
Now in terms of the trade, the 27th overall pick may not be enough, especially if the Blackhawks try and have the Hurricanes take on Marian Hossa’s remaining contract. The Hurricanes have a lot of cap space and taking on Hossa’s last three years should not be a problem because he won’t even be on the active roster. Hossa recently announced he will not play hockey ever again due to a skin condition related to his hockey equipment.
Overall, this deal makes sense and I would gladly welcome it. The blue line has to be fixed if the Blackhawks want a chance to compete with the top dog in the Western Conference. The salary cap is also supposed to jump, reportedly to $80 million, giving the Blackhawks even more flexibility to upgrade their roster. NHL free agency is a month away and it should be enjoyable as always!