VOORHEES, N.J. — There were no real surprises for the Flyers at Monday’s trade deadline, as they moved defenseman Justin Braun and Derick Brassard as expected.
Braun, acquired from the San Jose Sharks back in 2019, was traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
The deal was announced about two hours before the 3 p.m. cutoff.
Later, the Flyers sent Brassard to the Edmonton Oilers for a fourth-round pick in 2023.
Braun and Brassard were both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in July, which made them expendable to acquire assets.
With the acquisition of the picks, the Flyers now own nine selections in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, including three third-round picks.
General manager Chuck Fletcher said he pretty much accomplished what he set out to do by trading Claude Giroux, Braun and Brassard over the past three days, getting promising forward Owen Tippett and a bunch of draft picks in return.
Getting value for Braun and Brassard made it a satisfactory day.
“I think it went exactly as we expected,’’ Fletcher said after a long delay to address the media at the Flyers Training Center. “We’ve been receiving a lot of calls on Braun, we expected that we would be able to move him. Brassard is a versatile, veteran forward. He’s played an awful lot of playoff games. I expected we would move him as well.’’
The trades will give some younger players more playing time and experience.
“I think we’re happy moving those two players,’’ Fletcher said. “And picking up a third- and a fourth-round pick. We have 20 games left to play so I think we’re in a good spot.’’
Fletcher hopes to have injured forwards Nate Thompson (shoulder) and Scott Laughton (concussion) back in the lineup at some point on the five-game road trip, which starts Tuesday night in Detroit.
One player who was the subject of trade rumors, backup goaltender Martin Jones, was not moved.
“There were some conversations on a few of the other guys,’’ Fletcher said. “But nothing really materialized.’’ The Flyers have had trouble keeping some of their minor league goalies, such as Kirill Ustimenko and Felix Sandstrom, healthy, so keeping Jones might be a good move for the remainder of the season.
Braun departs the Flyers after three seasons with the club beginning with the 2019-20 season. He posted 41 points (nine goals, 32 assists) in 176 regular season games with the Flyers and averaged 18:36 of ice time.
This season, Braun has posted five goals/16 points and is a plus-3 while averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per-game at 20:02. His five goals are tied for the team lead among defensemen while his 16 points rank third on the blue line. Prior to being held out of Sunday’s game vs. NY Islanders, Braun was one of four Flyers to have appeared in every game for the Flyers.
Braun was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with the Sharks on June 18, 2019, in exchange for a second-round pick in 2019 and third-round pick in 2020. He signed a two-year contract extension with the Flyers on Oct. 5, 2020.
“Justin gave us three great seasons,’’ Fletcher said. “He gave us everything he had every night. A quality teammate, a quality veteran and a great pickup for the New York Rangers.’’
As for Brassard, he’s going to his 10th NHL team, which shows he’s a bit of a survivor in this league.
“I wasn’t sure on Brassard (expected return),’’ Fletcher said. “He’s been injured. He’s been playing well, he’s healthy now.’’
Fletcher was asked what he wants to see out of his team over its last 20 games now that the smoke has cleared from the trade deadline.
“A lot of what we saw yesterday (Sunday, a 2-1 win over the rejuvenated New York Islanders),’’ Fletcher said. “Energy, hard work, young players playing a bigger role and getting an opportunity to show what they can do next year. We want to finish strong. We want to see a little more of what we have going into next season.’’
Fletcher cited the play of Morgan Frost in the Islander game, saying the center might have had his best game of the season and some of the credit for that might go to Tippett, his linemate.
“I think there’s an opportunity for the younger players to gain more experience,’’ Fletcher said. “Frost, it looked like he had fun playing with Tippett. They moved the puck, they had some energy. For young players like that to have an opportunity to have a bigger role because Brassard is not here or, for a defenseman, Braun is not here, those are the opportunities that present themselves.’’
What’s the offseason plan now?”
There’s a lot that will happen between now and then,” Fletcher said. “A lot of meetings. We’ll see how players do, the health of certain players. That’s what May, June and July will be about.”