One of the important features of the 2010 prospects camp is that the New Jersey Devils staff get to see the newly drafted players up close, under their direction, and play with other team prospects for the first time. Fourth round draft pick, defenseman, and Wisconsin commit, Joe Faust is one of those players. Today, Tom Gulitti talked with Faust for a bit at camp. Faust revealed how felt getting drafted by New Jersey, what it was like adjusting to camp, and which player really liked.
I had the good fortune to ask Western College Hockey Blog about Faust. WCHB comes right out of Minnesota and has been able to seen Faust play with Bloomington Jefferson a number of times in the past season. Faust was mentioned for a bit earlier on WCHB with some praise for his abilities. My questions and WCHB's answers appear after the jump.John Fischer: How often have you seen Joe Faust play?
Western College Hockey Blog: I counted it up and it was six times during this past year, and five times the year before that.
JF: While there isn't a lot of available reports on Joe Faust, it appears that he's a two-way defenseman based on his results with Bloomington-Jefferson. Having seen him, would that be a fair guess as to the type of player he is?
WCHB: I would say he was more of an offensive-minded defenseman, at least at the high school level. He was certainly much stronger in the offensive end than the defensive end. As he moves up in competition, he'll probably have to develop more of a two-way game.
JF: You've mentioned Faust in a post earlier this year, noting his play impressed you in spite of your general impression. What was your initial general impression and do you think he improved on that throughout the year - what would be your final impression?
WCHB: He was definitely a kid that I became more impressed with the more I saw him play. He wasn't an outstanding skater, and his defensive play was a little rough. But the more I watched him, I was very impressed with his vision and poise with the puck. He's a smart player, and I think he's got some nice potential.
JF: Continuing on based on your comments on Faust, it seems that his main strengths are his vision and long passes. Are those his only strengths, or does he have other traits that stuck out when you saw him?
WCHB: I do think he sees the ice very well, and does a great job of passing the puck. One of the big catchphrases you hear from coaches and scouts these days is that they're looking for players that "can make a good first pass" out of the zone, and I think that's something Faust does well. The other thing I like about him is that he's a kid that isn't afraid to shoot the puck from the point, which sounds simple, but is more rare than you would think.
JF Aside: I have an example of his willingness to shoot. Here's a video of #12 Joe Faust scoring an Important Goal with Bloomington Jefferson last season. It didn't just win the game in overtime, it took them to the sectional championships with Edina (Edina won 4-1)
JF: In terms of weaknesses, you've noted that his defensive work wasn't all that strong but it could be improved. Has it improved as the season went on, or is this something that he'll need to really focus on more than anything else at the next level?
WCHB: I think he's shown some improvement, but moving up to college hockey will really be a big help for him. Playing high school hockey, I think it's sometimes a little easier for players to get away with things and be a little out of position. In college hockey, he'll get great coaching to help with that side of his game, and have to play a little more conservatively.
JF: How did he look against various levels of competition? Was he usually matched up against the other team's top players or was he used in other ways?
WCHB: At Bloomington Jefferson, he was usually out on the ice every other shift, and played in all situations. He played in the Minnesota HS Elite League, which is a fall all-star league and did pretty well there as well.
JF: I've learned a few days ago from Minnesota Hockey Hub via Chuck Schwartz, who heard directly from Faust, that he's committed to Wisconsin. Given that you follow the WCHA closely, do you think this is a good move for Faust? Do you think he'll be able to make the team and get minutes as a freshman? Or would he have been better off remaining in Princeton (who he de-committed with) or Des Moines of the USHL (who has his rights in the league)?
WCHB: I think going to Wisconsin will be a good move for him. I think there may be a longer adjustment period in his first year than if he had played in the USHL for a season, but in the long run it will likely be a good move for him. There's a great coaching staff at Wisconsin and a strong emphasis on defense there. Anaheim first round pick Jake Gardiner was another kid that I thought was all over the ice and weak defensively coming out of high school, but he's really settled down into a more responsible player after a couple seasons at Wisconsin.
Big thanks to Western College Hockey Blog for taking the time to answer my questions on Joe Faust. Hopefully, you've learned something new about Joe Faust. Do you think better of the selection? Do you have higher hopes for Faust going forward? Do you have any other questions that I can pass along to WCHB? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.