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Self-described bubble player Justin Falk: “I need a season here”

Oct 31, 2012, 11:39 AM EDT

Justin Falk

It’s been a tough road to the NHL for Justin Falk. The 24-year-old was drafted 110th overall in 2007 and has spent most of his pro career in the AHL with the Houston Aeros.

In 2011-12, things started looking up for the big defenseman. He played 47 games for the Minnesota Wild, scoring once and adding eight assists while killing penalties and providing a physical presence on the blue line.

In July, Falk was rewarded with a one-year, $825,000 contract extension. It was a one-way deal, the first he’s received from the organization.

Now, just as he was emerging as an NHL regular, he finds himself in the midst of a lockout that’s threatening the entire 2012-13 season.

And he’s worried about it.

“I need a season here,” he told the StarTribune. “It’s a tough situation. We stand together as a union, but there’s such a variety of players — guys on the bubble with one-year contracts that need games to play in this league.

“I want this to be a start of a career in the National Hockey League. It’s hard not to worry this could do a lot of damage in my career. I need to keep progressing because there’s always someone knocking on the door.”

Falk isn’t fabulously wealthy. He’s maybe earned $1 million as a pro, not including taxes and agent fees.

All of which is to ask, if the split between the owners and players is going to get to 50/50 eventually, how much do you think he cares if it gets there next season (and he loses a few bucks to escrow) or if it takes a few years?

Does he care enough to jeopardize his career?

Related: Players need to ask themselves: Is it worth it?

  1. silversun60 - Oct 31, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Hold on…. a comment about this whole stupid situation that actually makes sense?!?!?!

    He’s dead on. The bubble players… the guys who can’t just go over to Europe and steal someone elses job are the guys who are really getting screwed here.

  2. steverolley - Oct 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    These are the players who are suffering the most.

    I like how everyone talks about “screw the NHL the players can play in Europe” but there are a lot of guys like Falk who don’t have that oppurtunity. And the so called stars are taking jobs away from European players.

    If this season is lost Falk probably doesn’t come back to the NHL or loses about 20% of his hockey career earnings. Hopefully the lock out ends

    • hockeyflow33 - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      There’s more than enough guys who are nowhere near NHL-caliber playing in Europe. It sucks that there’s no NHL but to act like he can’t play in a European country is absurd.

  3. hockeywithdrawal - Oct 31, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I’m pretty sure these are the types of players that Krys Barch was tweeting about…except when he did that everyone was real quick to jump on the bandwagon and say ‘ohhh you poor millionaires’….yikes….I guess it just matters who says it.

    Either way, I agree with both Barch and Falk (if that’s possible), it’s unfortunate and they do run the risk of becoming carnage.

    It’s ok though – Bettman still doesn’t care. Nor does Falk’s boss.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 31, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Not like Fehr has done a lot either

  4. gunnerstaal - Nov 1, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    What true “union” leaves about 60% of their workers behind in the dust? 3rd/4th liners, bottom pair d men, and backup goalies represent at least 60% of the league. These guys are taking it on the chin. NHLPA could care less, as long as the top echelon players get theirs.

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