It took him a long time to get acclimated to St. Louis, and a global pandemic did not help, but St. Louis Blues defensemen Justin Faulk has been the best player in 2021.
Justin Faulk has had a rollercoaster of a start to his career as a St. Louis Blue. He has been one of the most beloved Blues on the roster, and he has been one of the players under the most scrutiny from fans in St. Louis.
However, in 2021, Faulk has been the Blues’ top player and deserves this metaphorical MVP. Acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on September 24, 2019, for Joel Edmundson, prospect Dominik Bokk, and a seventh-round pick, Faulk has been as steady as they come on the blue line in the NHL.
The ill-will directed at Faulk may have come from unmet expectations. While in Carolina, he was a perennial all-star on one of the most popular up and coming teams in the NHL because of their performance on the ice and their antics after wins.
He spent eight seasons with the Hurricanes playing in 559 games while registering 258 points and four years of scoring at least 10 goals. But, more than his lack of offensive production to begin his Blues career, the case could be made that the Faulk extension effectively ended the Alex Pietrangelo era in St. Louis.
Once we get past the fact that Faulk is here to stay for the foreseeable future, splitting the highest-paid blueliner honors with Torrey Krug, Faulk has been slowly getting better as a St. Louis Blue.
He still hasn’t put up the offensive numbers that he did as a Hurricane, although he still has produced some highlight-reel goals over the past year and has set up even more with his creative offensive mindset.
So far this year, he’s scored five goals and has helped on six more for 11 points in just 25 games. Unfortunately, injuries and COVID have kept him on the sideline for a good bit of the early season.
However, the stat that sticks out the most is his plus-minus as a Blue for his career. In Carolina, he was a whopping -100 for the Hurricanes. With St. Louis, he is a plus 21. Despite playing in 559 games for the Hurricanes and only 150 for the Blues, that number shows his defensive maturity under Craig Berube.
Faulk is the MVP of the Blues for the 2021 season. However, it was close. Jordan Kyrou progressed tremendously this year and made a solid case to top this list. Of course, the Blues wouldn’t be where they are without the likes of Jordan Binnington or David Perron, but ultimately it was Faulk who took home this prestigious honor.