Fantasy Take: Justin Faulk traded to St. Louis

by Michael Clifford on September 24, 2019

 

The rumours of Justin Faulk being traded have been around for a couple years now. Lately, there was a report that Anaheim had a trade in the works that included Ondrej Kase, but that never materialized for one reason or another. On Tuesday morning, there were some breadcrumbs to follow – “Faulk is healthy but not at practice” – and the trade finally materialized, only it was with St. Louis.

 

What St. Louis Gets

Justin Faulk

2020 fifth-round pick

It should be noted that St. Louis immediately re-upped Faulk for seven years with an AAV of $6.5M.

Faulk walks into the defending Stanley Cup champions a year after getting to the Conference Final himself with Carolina. What’s notable here is that the team already has Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko on the right side. Parayko has two years left on his deal after 2019-20 while Pietrangelo is a UFA after this season. If the Blues were to extend Pietrangelo for somewhere in the $9M neighbourhood, the team would have $21M tied up in their three right-shot defencemen. Not that depth is a bad thing, but one of them would have to ostensibly be on the third pair, making them an expensive third-pair defender. Of course, they can move one to the left side, but they’re already full there so it really does seem Faulk is going to end up on the third pair for the Blues. Not only that, but it’s doubtful he gets to the top PP unit with consistency, and PP production has been a huge part of Faulk’s point production over the years (79 of 189 points over the last five years have come with the man advantage). Faulk had 10 PPPs last year and if he’s stuck (at best) on PP2, then last year’s production of 10 PPPs and 35 total points sounds right.

The other area Faulk derives his value is peripherals, specifically shots and real-time stats. However, if he’s on the third pair and PP2 for the year, it’s hard not to see him losing ice time, and that’ll impact his peripherals. All in all, unless he jumps ahead of both Pietrangelo and Dunn on the PP depth chart, it’s hard to see this move as an upgrade for Faulk in fantasy terms. My initial projection move has him losing roughly two minutes per game, and that's not good for a defenceman.

 

What Carolina Gets

Joel Edmundson

Dominik Bokk

2021 seventh-round pick

Edumundson has never carried much fantasy value and this doesn’t change things. He’s going to be behind both Jake Gardiner and Jaccob Slavin at 5v5 and will not get to the power play. In other words, as far as Edmundson’s fantasy prospects are concerned, it’s pretty much status quo.However, this does give three left-shot defencemen that Carolina can rely on, which doesn’t bode well for Jake Bean’s potential this year. 

It does clear up the power-play situation for Carolina, though. While it doesn’t look like Dougie Hamilton is the front-runner anymore in lieu of Jake Gardiner, it removes the incumbent and thus perhaps the coach’s favourite toy. With Faulk gone, the top PP unit is Gardiner’s so long as it doesn’t fall on its face.

You can read the Dobber Prospect profile on Bokk here. I’m not a prospect guy personally but Bokk was a favourite of mine coming out of the 2018 draft (partly thanks to speaking with Cam on this last year). The 19-year old forward had a successful year in Sweden, finishing with 23 points in 47 games as an 18-year old on a low-scoring team, finishing fifth among his team’s forwards in points. He’s a guy who is fun to watch in the offensive zone and this is a good bet by the Hurricanes. It also gives them another right-shot winger, something they’re severely lacking. For that reason, this is a move up for Bokk; he probably won't have much impact in 2019-20, but if he can perform well this year, there are meaningful minutes waiting for him. In St. Louis, he would have been stuck a glut of wingers on both wings, and that won't be the case in Carolina. 

 

Who this helps

Jake Gardiner

Dougie Hamilton

Dominik Bokk

 

Who this hurts

Justin Faulk

Jake Bean 

Haydn Fleury

Robert Bortuzzo