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Flyers trade Justin Braun to NY Rangers, Derick Brassard to Edmonton

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Justin Braun, Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers traded Justin Braun, a steady and reliable defenseman during his three years with the team, to the New York Rangers on Monday as they continued to grab assets for the future.

In exchange, the Flyers received a third-round pick in what looks like a strong 2023 draft. They now have three third-rounders that year.

On Saturday, the Flyers received two draft picks (first round in 2024, third round in 2023) and right winger Owen Tippett for Claude Giroux, two prospects, and a fifth-rounder in 2024.

Later in the day, just before the 3 p.m. deadline, the Flyers sent underrated center Derick Brassard to the Edmonton Oilers for a fourth-round pick in 2023. Brassard, 34, a prospective UFA this summer, has been effective in his latest return from a hip injury. All told, he has 16 points (6-10) in 31 games; he missed 31 games with the hip problem.

Brassard has been a solid post-season performer, collecting 68 points (25-43) in 117 career playoff games. Edmonton will be his 10th NHL team.

The Flyers have used Brassard primarily on the first or second line in recent games, but he is expected to be a fourth-line center or left winger in Edmonton.

Braun, 35, can become an unrestricted free agent in July. In 61 games this season, the righthanded-shooting Braun had 16 points, including five goals, which equals a career high. He also has a plus-3 rating — not easy when you consider the Flyers have a minus-58 goal differential.

‘Lays it on the line’

“I have so much respect for him as a person; he’s a real quality guy,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. As a coach, Yeo said, you often “go to talk to somebody when they need to correct something, or when when you need to motivate somebody. You never have to do that with Brauner. He just shows up night after night and just lays it on the line.”

A 12-year veteran, he has played in a Stanley Cup Final with San Jose, and his experience (100 career playoff games) will help the Blueshirts. He goes to a powerful 40-18-5 team that is tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind Carolina, which has a game in hand.

Because of an injury to Ryan Ellis, Braun spent most of the season on the Flyers’ top pairing. He is expected to be a depth defenseman with the Rangers.

Yeo called Braun “one of the biggest and best competitors I’ve ever coached. He 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 who plays the same — the right way — night after night.”

Braun, a seventh-round selection in the 2007 draft, is second on the Flyers in blocked shots (114), behind only Ivan Provorov (125). He was acquired from San Jose in the summer of 2019 for a second-round draft pick in 2019 and a third-rounder in 2020.

The Minneapolis native’s attitude and demeanor “and everything he’s done has had a real effect on the rest of the group, especially with the rest of the defensemen,” Yeo said.

The Flyers now have 45 players under contract, five short of the maximum allowed.  They have room to sign some of their prospects such as forwards Bobby Brink and Noah Cates, defesneman Ronnie Attard, and goalie Ivan Fedotov. 

Breakaways

GM Chuck Fletcher said the day “went exactly as expected.” … Center Scott Laughton skated Monday and may soon return from a concussion. Fletcher said Laughton will be on the Flyers’ five-game road grip, which starts Tuesday in Detroit, and there’s a chance he will be cleared to play toward the end of it. … Center Nate Thompson, coming off shoulder surgery, may also return during the road trip, per Fletcher. … The Flyers sent Cam York and Max Willman to the Phantoms — at least on paper — to make them eligible for the AHL playoffs. Both will play Tuesday in Detroit.

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