The San Jose Sharks have moved a defenseman prior to Friday’s NHL Entry Draft where a number of similar trades are likely to take place. In an effort to clear salary cap space, the team has moved veteran defenseman Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In return, the Sharks receive a second-round pick in 2019 and a third-round in 2020.
Why the Sharks Made the Move
It’s not that Braun was a poor defenseman. On the contrary, the Flyers are likely happy to be picking up such a veteran piece on a blue line that could certainly use the help. Instead, the Sharks needed to clear salary cap space after re-signing stud d-man Erik Karlsson to a massive deal that paid $11.5 million per season over eight seasons.
Karlsson’s deal made it so that the Sharks needed to clear room to sign players like Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Timo Meier and Kevin Lebanc. Moving Braun certainly helps in that regard.
Why the Flyers Made the Move
New GM Chuck Fletcher has indicated from the day he took the role as new GM of the Flyers that he was going to actively be making changes. A less-than-stellar season for the Flyers meant there was work that needed to be done in all areas.
“We are excited to add Justin to our group of defensemen,” said Fletcher. “He is a high character, quality defender who will bring a steadying presence to our team.”
This past season, Braun recorded 16 points (2g-14a) in 78 regular season games while averaging over 20 minutes of time-on-ice (20:18). It wasn’t his best season but playing behind players like Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc Edouard Vlasic, he can offer more than he was being asked to for the Sharks. The Flyers likely see him in a role with more responsibility.
Braun brings with him a wealth of playoff experience, a winning reputation and nine seasons that include 154 points (24g-130a) in 607 career NHL games to go along with a career plus-minus of +24.
The two draft picks are being seen by some as a steep price but it might reflect the cost of doing business this time of year.
What’s Next for Flyers and Sharks?
This deal is probably not the end of the moves either team will make over the next couple of days? The Flyers have promised to be active and the Sharks are looking to sign some of their key free agents.
With the NHL draft on Friday, this is the time of year where teams make a number of moves and both of these teams have a history of making splashes and keeping things interesting.
For the Sharks, expect the team to focus on a player like Pavelski who has said he wants to stay with the team but might have moved had the organization not freed up the money to make an extension possible.
You can catch a ton of coverage here on the Hockey Writers when it comes to trades, draft and prospect information and analysis.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition