Bruins Have Underrated Trade Target in Flyers’ Justin Braun

At this point of the regular season, the Philadelphia Flyers have a disappointing 18-29-10 record and are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. With this, they are understandably expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. Captain Claude Giroux has come up in trade talks, and he would be an excellent addition to the Boston Bruins. However, he also has a no-movement clause, and there’s no guarantee that he would accept a trade there. Yet, the Flyers have another trade target who could also be quite useful to the Bruins in Justin Braun.

David Pagnotta reported that the Bruins are one of the teams that have called the Flyers about Braun. Although he isn’t the flashiest of names on the market, he is the kind of player that they should at least consider adding to their roster before the deadline passes. Let’s dive into why.

Braun Would Provide Upgrade to Bottom Pair

After Kevan Miller announced his retirement this past offseason, the Bruins failed to sign a replacement for the 34-year-old. They opted to give Connor Clifton his spot on the bottom pair and so far, the results have varied. At times, he has looked solid playing in the role, but he also has had numerous moments of inconsistency. He even lost his spot to Jakub Zboril until the latter unfortunately sustained a torn ACL and was ruled out for the season.

Justin Braun Philadelphia Flyers
Justin Braun, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With all of this, there are some concerns with Clifton. Is he a legitimate top-six defenseman or better suited to be the team’s seventh d-man? Instead of going into the playoffs with this lingering issue, it would be wiser to add a player like Braun who has proven himself as a legitimate bottom-pair defenseman. Besides being a very reliable defensive defenseman, the latter also can contribute more offensively, too. That would be welcomed to their current defensive group.

Braun Is Quietly Having a Strong Campaign

Although the Flyers have been extremely underwhelming this season, Braun has quietly been having one of his best seasons in some time. In 57 games thus far, he has five goals, 10 assists, and a plus-3 rating. His pace of production has increased significantly from just last season, as he only had one goal and five assists in 53 games during it. Bringing in a player while he is hot doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.

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Braun also has been pretty active physically, too. Although he is not necessarily dominant in this area, his 74 hits are still pretty solid. Furthermore, for the first time since the 2018-19 season, he has over 100 blocked shots and is playing over 20 minutes per game. Thus, the Flyers are rewarding him for his solid all-around play, and he hasn’t been disappointing them. Seeing as how he has been able to maintain it this late into the season should make him even more appealing to the Bruins.

Braun Has Plenty of Experience

Braun’s immense amount of NHL experience shouldn’t be ignored either. In 779 career games between the San Jose Sharks and Flyers, he has 33 goals, 161 assists, and 194 points. With that, he also sports a career plus-25 rating due to his strong defensive play. Although he has yet to win a Stanley Cup, he also comes with exactly 100 career postseason games. Thus, he’s no stranger to the intensity that the playoffs provide.

Justin Braun Philadelphia Flyers Brock Nelson New York Islanders
Justin Braun, Philadelphia Flyers and Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Braun has never been a superstar, but he has been able to build himself a solid and long career. Furthermore, even though he is 35 years old, he is still very serviceable and has yet to show signs of true regression. It is always better to have experienced players for the postseason, and he is the perfect kind of player to help provide them with that.

Braun Should Not Cost Much

Although Braun is having himself a strong season, it is very unlikely that the Flyers would expect a first-round pick in exchange for him. The same could even be argued in regards to a second-round pick. With the Bruins not having a very strong prospect pool, they could very well stay clear of trading away high draft picks because of it. Although they have been linked to defensemen like Jakob Chychrun, Hampus Lindholm, and Ben Chiarot, acquiring any of them would require them to part ways with just that. Time will tell if general manager Don Sweeney is okay with doing this.

Yet, if they want to play things a bit more conservatively, Braun could end up being the perfect trade target for them. He also only carries a $1.8 million cap hit for the remainder of his campaign, so he is cheap. According to CapFriendly’s math, the Bruins have $6,133,940 of deadline cap space available for them to use. Therefore, acquiring the veteran defenseman would still allow them to make other moves, too.

Braun has the potential to provide the F more stability on the back end, so he wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize in the slightest. He is also not a stranger to the area, either, as he played his college days at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. We will have to wait and see if he ends up back in the state as a member of the Bruins before the deadline passes.