The present and future of the Carolina Hurricanes defense is locked up through 2020.
The Canes announced Monday that 22-year-old defenseman Justin Faulk has agree to a six-year contract extension that will pay him a total of $29 million, an average of $4.833 million per season. The deal will pay him $2.5 million next year, $3.5 million in 2015-16, $5.5 million in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and $6 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He was set to be a restricted free agent this offseason.
Faulk was selected 37th overall in the 2010 draft — arguably the best draft in Hurricanes history as the team took star forward Jeff Skinner seventh overall and also nabbed current Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen in the seventh round — and he turned pro shortly after he won an NCAA national championship his freshman season with Minnesota-Duluth in 2010-11.
Faulk immediately contributed in the NHL, playing 66 games with Carolina in his first professional season en route to becoming a building block for the franchise. Faulk was a member of the All-Rookie Team in 2011-12 and represented the United States at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In 169 games with the Hurricanes he has 16 goals and 45 assists for 61 points, ranking second to only Anaheim blueliner Cam Fowler (12th overall) in all those categories among defensemen drafted in 2010. His 45 assists are the fifth-most of any player from that year's draft and his 61 points rank ninth.
Here is the release from the Hurricanes:
‘CANES SIGN JUSTIN FAULK TO SIX-YEAR EXTENSION
22-year old defenseman is in his third NHL season
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed defenseman Justin Faulk to a six-year contract extension. The $29-million dollar deal will pay Faulk $2.5 million in 2014-15, $3.5 million in 2015-16, $5.5 million in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and $6 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20, for an average annual salary-cap figure of $4.833 million.
"Justin has proven to be among the best young defensemen in the league as confirmed by his selection to the U.S. Olympic team," said Rutherford. "He has been and will continue to be the anchor of the Hurricanes’ defense for years to come."
Faulk, who celebrated his 22nd birthday last Thursday, is in his third professional season, and his third NHL season with Carolina. Thus far in 2013-14, he has scored three goals and earned 21 assists (24 points) in 65 games played, and ranks second on the team in average ice time per game at 23:21. In February, the South St. Paul, MN, native represented the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, helping the Americans to a fourth-place finish.
In three NHL seasons, Faulk (6’0", 215 lbs.) has scored 16 goals and earned 45 assists (61 points) in 169 games with the Hurricanes. He has led all Hurricanes skaters in time on ice per game in each of the last two seasons, averaging 22:50 per game in 2011-12, and 24:00 per game in 2012-13. Faulk was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2011-12, becoming the eighth player in franchise history to receive that honor. In late January 2012, he represented the Hurricanes as one of 12 NHL rookies selected to take part in 2012 NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Ottawa.
Faulk turned professional in 2011 after helping the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national championship in his freshman season. He is a product of the United States National Team Development Program (USNDTP), and has represented his country in several international competitions, including the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) 2010 World U18 Championship, 2011 World Junior Championship and 2013 World Championship. Carolina drafted Faulk in the second round, 37th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.