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Could Seattle go off the board with Justin Braun or Robert Hagg from Flyers?



Justin Braun Robert Hagg

The Philadelphia Flyers have a handful of viable players for the Seattle Kraken to select in the Expansion Draft. The three big names are Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, and Shayne Gostisbehere –– as we outlined earlier. However, there’s always the possibility that Seattle could go off the board with Justin Braun or Robert Hagg.

In the 2017 Expansion Draft, most people expected the Vegas Golden Knights to take someone like Michael Raffl from the Flyers. Instead, they went with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. The fourth-line center for the Flyers proved to be a decent bottom-six option for Vegas and then Colorado.

Could the Seattle Kraken go a similar route? Everyone is preparing to lose Voracek, JVR, or Gostisbehere, but Braun and Hagg are there for the taking as well.

Flyers Expansion Draft: Braun and Hagg potential options?

Justin Braun

Age: 34
Cap Hit: $1.8 M
Expiry: UFA (2022)
Role: Bottom-four defenseman

Braun is one of the few right-handed defensemen on the Flyers roster. In fact, only he and Ryan Ellis fit that category as of now. Last season, Braun held his own as he moved up and down the lineup. He played well enough with Ivan Provorov on the top pair after Philippe Myers struggled.

Braun averaged 18:32 of ice time per game last season –– an increase of over a minute per game from the 2019-20 season (17:16) –– and was one of the Flyers’ few consistent defensemen.

If he’s on the Flyers roster next season, Braun will hopefully be on the third pair. Ellis is now on the top pair and the Flyers should be looking to add another defenseman to shore up the second pair. Braun is aging, but the veteran is a good responsible option on the third pair.

That is one of the main reasons that the Kraken may look to snag Braun. He has a cheap contract for just one season and could provide leadership and experience on the blue line. For a team looking to find an identity, some known-quantity players are nice to have. Braun fits the bill.

Robert Hagg

Age: 26
Cap Hit: $1.6 M
Expiry: UFA (2022)
Role: Bottom-four defenseman

Speaking of known quantities, Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol is very fond of Robert Hagg. The defensive defenseman averaged over 18 minutes a game in 70 games in the 2017-18 season while playing for Hakstol.

Hagg picked up just five points (two goals, three assists) while averaging 15:40 of ice time per game across 34 games this past season. He had 100 hits and 31 blocked shots.

Hagg is nothing more than a bottom-pair defenseman at best. However, he’s a teammate that players love to have due to his shot-blocking, hitting, and occasional rough stuff. On top of that, Hakstol could pull some strings. Like Braun, Hagg has one year left at a $1.6 million cap hit.

Flyers must pivot if Seattle takes Braun or Hagg

If Seattle does go off the board with Braun or Hagg, the Flyers will have to pivot their plans a bit. It’s no secret that they want to clear cap space for another move this offseason. Jakub Voracek is being shopped and I’m sure James van Riemsdyk and Shayne Gostisbehere are being mentioned as well. However, it’s not a huge detour if the Flyers lose Braun or Hagg instead of a big-contract player.

Gilbert: Adding Ellis only the beginning of Flyers’ big offseason moves

There have already been a few trades this offseason with teams trying to get rid of bigger contracts. And it’s not like the three Flyers mentioned above are washed up by any means. Voracek and van Riemsdyk tied for the team lead in points and have at least a few good years left in them. Their contracts are a bit high, but they’re not unreasonable for teams that have some room.

Gostisbehere has been in the rumor mill for the past offseason or two. He cleared waivers during the season, but the offseason opens more possibilities.

Ultimately, Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers shouldn’t be impacted too much by the Expansion Draft. Ignoring any side deals, Seattle has a handful of players to choose from and I’m sure the Flyers have plans in place for each of them. A trade involving Voracek or JVR from the Flyers and Vladimir Tarasenko from the Blues (or Kraken) could be in the cards if Seattle goes off the board.

Photo: Heather Barry Images

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