The Philadelphia Flyers acquired Justin Braun from the San Jose Sharks for the No.41 overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft and a third-round pick in 2020.
Philadelphia continues to tinker with their roster this offseason, making their third notable trade of the month. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher started his summer by acquiring RFA Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2019 fifth-round pick. Last week he swapped right-handed defensemen with the Washington Capitals, by sending Radko Gudas for Matt Niskanen.
Braun, who turned 32 in February and is in the final year of a five-year contract, is a huge upgrade over Andrew MacDonald. Philadelphia bought MacDonald out over the weekend and Braun comes in to replace him on the second or third pairing with Shayne Gostisbehere or Robert Hagg. Braun has good size (6-foot-2, 205 lbs.) but doesn’t bring a lot of offence to the table. He set a new career-high with 33 points in 2017-18 but had just 16 points a season ago. Braun is rock-solid in his own-end though and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work—he led San Jose with 120 blocked shots and was second among Sharks defensemen in hits (121) last season.
The Flyers have done a great job developing defensemen and adding Braun likely means that Philippe Myers will play another season with Lehigh Valley (AHL). This is the same approach they took with Hagg, who played 202 AHL games before becoming a full-time NHLer in 2017 and Travis Sanheim, who spent two years in the WHL and a year and a half in the AHL following his draft year.
With the most recent moves, the Flyers now have a nice blend of young and veteran defenseman, as well as a mix of offensive and defensive-minded blueliners.
Sharks up against the Cap
As for the Sharks, they needed to move some money after making Erik Karlsson the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL on Monday. After signing Karlsson and trading Braun, the Sharks have approximately $17.003 million in cap space according to PuckPedia.com. That isn’t a lot of money when you realize they need to sign RFA’s Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Joakim Ryan. And you have to think they want to re-sign Joe Pavelski and possibly Joe Thornton as well. With only 15 NHLers under contract and one of the weaker prospect pools in the league, the Sharks are all-in on winning right now, but GM Doug Wilson has some work ahead of him.