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NHL Trade Talk

Flyers Trade for Erik Johnson, Veteran Sabres Defenseman



Philadelphia Flyers trade
(Photo: AP)

Confirming multiple reports, the Philadelphia Flyers announced Friday afternoon that the team had traded a 2024 fourth-round pick in exchange for veteran Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson.

Johnson, 35, is a 16-year NHL veteran acquired to give the Flyers more experience on the blueline. General manager Danny Briere had said the team was not going to give up assets just for the sake of doing so or to make a playoff run, but on the surface, the opposite appears to be the case here.

Johnson is a big right-shot defender best known for his time with the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he won a Stanley Cup with in the 2021-22 season. It was around then where Johnson’s ice time and production began to tail off, and the Flyers seem to have acquired him with little gas left in the tank.

In his last 113 NHL regular season games, Johnson has scored just three goals and eight assists. Further to that point, Johnson did not score a goal last season, and does not have an assist this season.

Those 113 games are just a microcosm of what the veteran has managed to accomplish over his career, though. Johnson, drafted No. 1 overall in the 2006 NHL Draft, has played in 970 NHL regular season games so far, scoring a total of 91 goals, 269 assists, and 340 points.

The Flyers did the right thing by adding an experienced player on defense, even if the price feels (is) quite high. It remains to be seen whether Johnson becomes a regular in the Flyers’ lineup or head coach John Tortorella allows players like Adam Ginning and Ronnie Attard to play with some veteran help, like Johnson, ready to come in behind them.

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