The irrational hate Justin Faulk has received since arriving in St. Louis is kind of sad, really. The guy has not had a great year, there is little debate there.
However, one off season does not make him a bad player. It does not mean he is not a top two or top four defenseman.
There is a reason he was on the top pairing with the Carolina Hurricanes and served as co-captain of their team for a time. That reason is not that the Hurricanes were a bad team with no other options either.
Faulk is a good player. He lacks the defensive skill that others on this team possess, but there have been plenty of Blues players in the past that were not great defenders and yet they were fan favorites.
No offense, but I find it odd that there were a large number of fans that would have been more than willing to give Kevin Shattenkirk a similar deal to what the Blues gave Faulk. Yet only one player has the contract held over his head.
Regardless, I believe Faulk’s true talents will come out in this playoff run. Accept it or not, Faulk clearly had a difficult time adjusting to a new team and city.
He had only ever played for the Hurricanes, so it likely came as a complete shock to be dealt away. The Blues put him in a different role, took responsibility away and gave him a revolving door of teammates to play alongside.
Faulk succeeding in the playoffs will depend slightly on having a steady linemate. The staff has to do what they feel best, but if Faulk can play with one player the vast majority of the playoffs, he is going to have success.
Faulk is not just an offensive player either, evidence to the contrary. Over the last five seasons, he has averaged 120 hits.
We might not have seen as much of that with the Blues, but he has an edge to his game when necessary. His one playoff season in Carolina, he had 43 hits in just 15 games. He will take the body when he needs to.
I believe he is going to find his offensive game too. If put in the right situations, I could easily see Faulk scoring four or five goals during this playoff run.