Blues 2021-22 Report Cards: Justin Faulk

The St. Louis Blues 2021-22 season represented a major transition for the franchise. No longer a stout defensive team built from the blueline out, they finished second in the NHL in goals scored, with nine forwards recording 20-plus goals. Though the season came to an end in a six-game defeat by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round, there are plenty of highs and lows to reflect on. In this series, we’ll evaluate each player who played 10 or more games with the team (as well as the head coach and general manager), grading their individual performance and looking at their future with the team.

Justin Faulk St. Louis Blues
Justin Faulk, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images),

The St. Louis Blues didn’t get the consistency that they wanted with their defensive unit this season, but Justin Faulk was elite. He built on everything he did from the 2020-21 season and became an even better player. His chemistry with Torey Krug continued to be incredible and remained the most dependable blue line duo in St. Louis in 2021-22.

Related: St. Louis Blues: Revisiting the Justin Faulk Trade

It’s easy to find what went right for Faulk, but finding what went wrong can be difficult. There is no doubt that I was high on his performance this season, as there is a legitimate argument to make him the team’s most valuable player for the 2021-22 season.

What Went Right: Best Overall Defenseman on the Blues

Faulk was the Blues’ best defenseman this season, as he tallied 16 goals and 47 points in 76 games. This was the highest point-per-game average of his career, his evolution over three seasons as a Blue has been great to watch.

SeasonGoals Per Game (GPG)Assists Per Game (APG)Points Per Game (PPG)

Source: Hockey Reference

It’s safe to say that Faulk’s best season in St. Louis, and possibly his career took place in 2021-22, as his numbers increased in nearly every category. He was spectacular in more ways than one, making him the Blues’ most reliable defenseman.

A couple of other interesting stats were that Faulk tallied 149 hits and blocked 101 shots. Both of those numbers are his most since 2018-19 with the Carolina Hurricanes. His shooting percentage of 9.6 was a career-high for him, and it was a 3.6 percent increase from last season. Faulk was fantastic and the trade looks better for the Blues every season that goes by.

What Went Wrong: Lower Average Time on Ice

It was hard to find something that went wrong for Faulk, but I’ll say that his average time on ice being reduced wasn’t ideal. It was only down a minute from last season, but it was still somewhat odd to see this considering the year he had. Last season ranked sixth in his career for time on ice, and second-most in his three seasons as a Blue.

Justin Faulk St. Louis Blues
Justin Faulk, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Blues relied on a lot of defensive depth this season, and that could be part of why Faulk’s minutes were down. Either way, he was far more productive in fewer minutes, which makes his season even more impressive. The ability to have him play on the left or right side was incredibly vital for the Blues, but he needs to play with Krug as much as possible next season.

Key Facts

  • 167 shots on goal, most by a Blues defenseman
  • 15 even-strength goals, most by a Blues defenseman
  • Plus-41, tied for sixth in the NHL

Final Grade: A

This was an easy grade to determine, as Faulk had a brilliant season. There was a time during parts of the last two seasons when the Blues may have regretted the move, but it has paid off now. Rather than re-signing Alex Pietrangelo, they’ve saved money against the cap with Faulk and have picked up other key pieces while maintaining their depth. He kept the same grade this season as he did last season with our report cards, and that is impressive. He had a terrific campaign and was easily the best defenseman in St. Louis during the 2021-22 season.

What’s Next For Faulk?

Faulk is about to enter the third season of a seven-year deal with the Blues, with a cap hit of $6.5 million. He is likely to reach his peak within the next two seasons and the Blues must capitalize on that. His defensive partner is likely to be Krug for the long term and that works well. He needs to build on a tremendous 2021-22 season by somehow topping that in 2022-23.

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120