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Canes won't release Faulk for WJC

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com
Citing the importance of having defenseman Justin Faulk in his lineup for the foreseeable future, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford on Monday confirmed that the rookie defenseman would not be made available to the U.S. National Junior Team for the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship.

"Justin has already become an integral part of our team at a very young age," Rutherford said in a statement released by the Hurricanes. "He had the experience of representing the United States at the World Junior Championship last year, winning a bronze medal in Buffalo. We believe it is in the best interest of our organization and his development for him to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes this year."

Faulk was one of eight returning players invited to U.S. selection camp that opened Saturday in Camrose, Alta. He helped the U.S. National Team win a bronze medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. Faulk had 1 goal, 4 points and a plus-2 rating at last year's event. This year's tournament will be held in Edmonton and Calgary beginning Dec. 26.

Faulk is second on team in ice time (21:50) through 18 games with Carolina this season. He also has 28 hits and 20 blocked shots, in addition to 4 points and a minus-9 rating.

Team USA coach Dean Blais has said his final 22-man roster would likely be named on Dec. 22. The camp will include exhibition games against Russia on Dec. 20 in Red Deer, Switzerland on Dec. 21 in Camrose, and Slovakia on Dec. 23 in Three Hills.

Rutherford told NHL.com via email last week that the decision to release Faulk would be tough.

"As much as we would like him to participate in the WJC, he is playing as a top-four defenseman with our club at this time," Rutherford told NHL.com.

Faulk was chosen in the second round (No. 37) of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Hurricanes. Less than a week after celebrating a national championship as a freshman at Minnesota-Duluth in 2010-11, Faulk signed an entry-level deal with Carolina in April. He led Bulldogs defensemen in goals (8), assists (25) and points (33) in 39 games in helping UMD to its first NCAA championship.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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