On Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Justin Faulk to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Joel Edmundson and prospect forward Dominik Bokk. Faulk had been involved in trade talks all last season as he was entering the final year of his six-year contract with Carolina. The whispers only increased after the Canes signed former Maple Leaf's d-man Jake Gardiner to a four-year deal on Sep. 6. Faulk signed a seven-year deal with the Blues worth $45.5 million that will take effect next summer when he officially leaves Carolina's payroll.
Faulk, Alex Pietrangelo, and Colton Parayko are a hell of a right-defense string. Faulk didn't have the best year of his career points-wise in 2018-2019, but he was able to post his highest career +/- rating. The problem for Faulk is that his highest career rating is +9. His total career rating? -100. Faulk will likely start out on the Blues' third defensive pairing with Carl Gunnarsson, but could wind up floating up and down with Pietrangelo and Parayko depending on each tandem's success.
Faulk, though as a lifetime Eastern Conference player, has never exactly dazzled against the Preds. He's played 14 career games against Nashville with an average eight points and -5 rating. The Preds will be fortunate if Faulk does pair up with Gunnarsson; as mentioned in "Sizing Up The Blues", Gunnarsson has put up well below-average numbers against the Preds in his 10 year career.
However, as a third-pair defenseman, Faulk could frequently be skating with Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist- two sneaky good forwards with a proven chemistry.
Faulk should not be overlooked on St. Louis' roster, but he's not as much of a defensive concern as, say, Pietrangelo is to the Preds. Gunnarsson doesn't have as poor of a track record as Faulk does on the back-check, but the Preds should still try and poke that bear when the opportunity arises.