This kicks off our annual season-ending player report cards here at DBTB. Each staff member has a handful of players that played at least 20 games this season that they’ll grade.
Season Stats: 46 GP | 1 G | 1 A | 2 PTS
Contract Status: UFA
Justin Falk isn’t one of your key players on the Buffalo Sabres roster. He’s at best a seventh defenseman on your NHL roster or minor league depth. He plays a role as a tough physical stay at home defenseman. Falk knows what his job is on a nightly basis and gives his best to play that role.
While he’s not a flashy player by any means. The 29-year-old defender is serviceable and doesn’t often hurt you defensively. Now, from time to time you’ll have your defensive lapses, but at the end of the season, you can say that Falk did his job.
This season was no different. He played in a little over half the game for the Sabres and most nights just did what was expected of him. His speed got him caught at times and not being the best puck mover was noticeable as well.
If you take a step back and truly rate Falk on what his realistic expectations for this season are you can’t be that unhappy with his performance.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Sabres do with the defender. He’s due to become an unrestricted-free-agent in July. He’s not a “Botterill guy.” Former General Manager Tim Murray signed Falk as a free agent in July of 2016 and re-signed him to a one-year extension in February of 2017.
I wouldn’t expect him to return next season, but it also wouldn’t shock me if he does. Head coach Phil Housley seemed to like what he brought at times on the ice throughout the season.
Season Grade: C+
What grade would you give Justin Falk this season?
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