Claude Giroux isn’t the only name generating a little buzz for the Philadelphia Flyers ahead of the trade deadline. There are a few others worth a mention. Giroux will yield the highest return value, but other contenders will seek out the Flyers veterans who’ve outperformed their contract value.
Justin Braun is a name that fits the description.
This morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the latest team to show interest in Braun, joining the likes of the Carolina Hurricanes. Six RDs appear on The Sports Network’s latest Trade Bait list, including Philadelphia’s Rasmus Ristolainen. There are other sexier names to make a deal for, which doesn’t make Braun a priority. He won’t command much of a return because of it.
Chuck Fletcher could receive a mid-to-late round draft pick in return, but is Braun more vital to the Flyers’ immediate future considering the lack of RD depth? Here, I analyze the importance and value of Braun before the 2022 NHL trade deadline:
Braun is “off the radar” trade bait. He won’t be the first choice for either the Toronto Maple Leafs or Carolina Hurricanes. What he can do is help a contender stabilize the third pair. Anyone who wants to take a swipe at Braun will expend a third-round pick at the worst. The Philadelphia Flyers could trade for a fourth-round pick under the condition that if the team makes the Stanley Cup Finals, it becomes a third-round selection.
As a seventh defenseman, Braun could rotate with Justin Holl. Sending a 2023 third-round pick for him doesn’t sacrifice anything for the Maple Leafs. The Flyers should try to make this trade work with the Hurricanes, who need an RD. Braun is a plug-and-play defenseman on the third pair instead of Brendan Smith, creating leverage to secure a conditional 2022 third-round pick.
Everything is up in the air. Is Braun a part of this “aggressive retool” foundation following his performance this season? Maybe a probable fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft isn’t worth the squeeze to let go of Braun.
My gut leans toward offering an extension to Braun at the end of the season. Fletcher knows that he can rely on Braun to hold his own in case of doomsday. He offers more value for the Philadelphia Flyers in the short term, which is vital for the “aggressive retool” philosophy. Cam York fits with him, too. Braun is a fountain of value for the Flyers’ defense.
(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)