The New York Rangers have acquired veteran defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2023.
The Rangers will pay a prorated $1.8 million cap hit to the 35-year-old right-shot defenseman, whose contract expires after the 2021-22 season.
Rangers Add Braun
The Rangers currently sit tied for second in the Metroopolitan Division with 85 points. They will add Braun to a blue line that has come together nicely throughout the past two seasons. Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, and K’Andre Miller make up a group of homegrown that has helped lead a resurgence in New York this season. Braun will join Jacob Trouba as a second veteran right-hander with considerable playoff experience.
Braun has played the past three seasons in Philadelphia after the Flyers acquired him from the San Jose Sharks for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 third-round pick. Along with Matt Niskanen, he helped add veteran stability during the 2019-20 season to a young blue line with the likes of Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Shayne Gostisbehere.
Niskanen’s unexpected retirement during the 2020 offseason coerced the Flyers to re-sign Braun to a two-year extension through the end of 2021-22. He has played on the right side of Philadelphia’s top defensive pair for the majority of the past two seasons. His work as a shot-blocker and a gutsy penalty killer has earned him the respect of everyone in the Flyers organization.
Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo lauded Braun’s contributions to the organization yesterday afternoon.
“As a coach, he’s the kind of guy that you have to force yourself to go and talk to because quite often as a coach, we’re all guilty. You go and talk to somebody when they sort of need to correct something or when you need to motivate somebody. You never need to do that with Brauner. He just shows up night after night and just lays it on the line. One of the biggest and best competitors that I’ve ever coached, as far as doesn’t care what the situation is. He goes out and plays the same way, blocks shots, takes hits, understands he’s not really going to get any glory for it, but he’s a guy that plays the same way and the right way night after night.”-Mike Yeo
Braun has played 100 playoff games over his 12-year NHL career. The Sharks made the playoffs in five of six seasons between 2013-14 and 2018-19. Braun averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game during each of the playoff runs. He scored two goals and added five assists in 24 games when they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016.
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His advanced metrics in 2021-22 have graded similarly to Ben Chiarot, who cost a considerably high price for the Florida Panthers last week. Braun has a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 45.74 and an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 45.36. Chiarot has a CF% of 45.79 and an xGF% of 43.14. The bigger lure of Chiarot was his performance in last year’s postseason when he led the Canadiens in average time on ice (ATOI) in 22 games played.
Flyers Collecting Picks
The Flyers continue their roster sale after moving long-time captain Claude Giroux to the Panthers on Saturday. They sit 27th in the NHL in points nearing the end of one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. The need to move veterans on expiring contracts has seemed inevitable in Philadelphia for a large stretch of the season. They will add the third-rounder from the Rangers to their stockpile of acquired picks at the deadline to join a conditional first-rounder in 2024 and an additional third-rounder in 2023 that came from Florida in the Giroux trade.
General manager Chuck Fletcher hopes to use the return packages to “aggressively retool” the roster this offseason to rejoin the conversation as a Stanley Cup contender in 2022-23. They will likely use the vacated roster spot to give a defensive prospect an opportunity at the NHL level. Egor Zamula is the top candidate.