Thursday, December 3, 2015

Justin Faulk Autograph Card

Honestly, if I was a billionaire who was interested in buying an NHL hockey team, I think I would rather apply for a new franchise via expansion than make an offer on the Carolina Hurricanes.

For starters, a new team is a clean slate; the Canes have been awful for a very long time, and apart from their surprise Stanley Cup victory in 2005-06, they're worse now than they ever were when they were known as the Hartford Whalers.

Also, they come pre-loaded with staff members who have been unable to make anything out of this team despite a salary cap on other teams, decent tax and weather conditions, and favourable draft positions.

Hall Of Fame player Ron Francis has not impressed me as a GM so far, and his hiring of Bill Peters hasn't shown me anything promising down the line either. The only player they have I would like to keep is Justin Faulk (ok, and perhaps Noah Hanifin as well), which means I'd have to ask whoever I put in charge after handing out a large sum in severance pay packages to get rid of 20 NHL contracts, possibly another 20 to 30 minor-league contracts, and instead of starting from scratch at dispersal and amateur drafts, having to go with players who I might not have chosen on the team for the first three to five years.

The team's such a mess, it would seem like buying a building for the land it's on, imploding it, and building on top of the ruins instead of by using the current foundations. It would feel like I was in the Las Vegas hotel industry.

But hey, there's Faulk, the 23-year-old American defenseman who was chosen 37th overall in 2010, behind Taylor Hall (1st), Tyler Seguin (2nd), Erik Gudbranson (3rd), Ryan Johansen (4th), Jeff Skinner (7th), Alexander Burmistrov (8th), Mikael Granlund (9th), Cam Fowler (12th), Jaden Schwartz (14th), Vladimir Tarasenko (16th), Nick Bjugstad (19th), Beau Bennett (20th), Jarred Tinordi (22nd), Kevin Hayes (24th), Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th), Emerson Etem (29th), Brock Nelson (30th), Tyler Pitlick (31st), and Alex Petrovic (36th), and ahead of Christian Thomas (40th), Devante Smith-Pelly (42nd), Ryan Spooner (45th), Tyler Toffoli (47th), Calvin Pickard (49th), Jason Zucker (59th), Max Reinhart (64th), Radko Gudas (66th), Michael Bournival (71st), Teemu Pulkkinen (111th), John Klingberg (131st), Micheal Ferland (133rd), Louis Domingue (138th), Petr Mrazek (141st), Brendan Gallagher (147th), Mark Stone (178th), and Frederik Andersen (187th), among others, so it's safe to say it was a pretty deep draft class, though in retrospect, Faulk, Pickard, Toffoli, Klingberg, Gallagher, and Stone would probably have been chosen in the first round if the draft had been held today.

Faulk fits in with the recent breed of Team USA defensemen, good with the puck, relatively fast, with a decent shot and improvements needed in his defensive game, though he has made huge strides in that department these past few seasons. He is definitely built in the same mold as Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, Ron Hainsey, Fowler, Zach Bogosian, and Torey Krug, except he has won gold (2010 U-18s) and bronze (2011 World Juniors, and 2013 and 2015 World Championships) medals.

He's also young enough to be able to learn to play a more complete game. He's already an All-Star, he could eventually perhaps become an All-World defender.

I traded for this 2011-12 Limited card from Panini (#228 of the Phenoms sub-set, numbered 268/299) roughly a month ago:
It contains a blue-sharpied on-cloth autograph (with his then-uniform number, 28, added on top - he now wears #27) inserted into a card that barely shows him and the Canes' former red (home) uniform, one of the few that Reebok got right at inception. Packs of 2011-12 Limited went for $55-65 for all of seven cards, three of which were autographs or memorabilia cards, and four which went to the completion (...) of the 175-card base set.

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