Flyers’ trade candidates admit this is not an easy time

Justin Braun
      VOORHEES, N.J. – Justin Braun has been through the pre-trade deadline grinder before, so on one level it makes all the rumors a bit easier to handle.
      However, since the Flyers veteran defenseman came back from last year’s trade to the Rangers to sign with Philadelphia of his own free will these last few days can be admittedly tough on an emotional level.
      Braun, 35, is one of several veteran players on expiring contracts likely to be moved on or before Friday’s NHL trade deadline. He returned to the Flyers on a one-year, $1-million deal.
      Others who fall into that category include James van Riemsdyk and Patrick Brown. Also, defenseman Nick Seeler is signed for the 2023-24 season but has been the subject of recent trade speculation.
      Braun has been in the NHL since 2010 and with 791 games under his belt he is pretty much prepared for anything.
      “Went through it last year and kind of got a general idea of what to expect,” Braun said after Monday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center. “You have to kind of take what happens. Last year they set me up and everything went smoothly.
      “Once you’ve gone through it you know what to expect. It’s your first time obviously in a long time (back to 2019 when he was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Flyers). That was in the summer and it was pretty easy. We (his family) didn’t have a lot to move in San Jose. The midseason is tough – kids in school and whatnot.”
      Braun came back for a second tour of duty with the Flyers because he thought things might improve under coach John Tortorella. They have made progress but not enough to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight season.
      “I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” Braun said. “The guys have been just awesome. That’s what brought me back, the group, the friendships. The family really enjoyed being out here. So it’s disappointing that we’re back in this situation again.”
      In a way, when other teams are seeking your services, it can be a bit of a compliment.
      “It’s a little bit different this year,” said Braun. “Been out a lot. I think teams now are just looking for depth guys if anything. It’s a little different situation, teams are calling who might be interested but whatever happens, happens.
      “And it’s obviously stressful with family and everything, what they have to deal with. We’ll see how the next few days go.”
      >DeAngelo a future GM?
      Tony DeAngelo is one of a very select group of players who actually enjoy all the hubbub of the pre-trade deadline angst.
      After Monday’s workout, he held court with the media and explained why it’s not only fun but perhaps makes him dream of becoming a general manager himself one day.
      “I’m actually looking forward to watching it (Friday’s 3 p.m. transaction deadline),” DeAngelo said with a grin. “I watch the whole show the whole day. I watch just like you guys.”
      DeAngelo said he, Travis Sanheim and Travis Konecny like to “play GM” and sort of do a fantasy league trade show of their own.
      “There are certain guys, ‘Sanny’ is one of them and TK over there that think we’re GMs,’’ DeAngelo said, evoking laughter from listeners. “And the guys in Carolina (where DeAngelo played last season); we were really good.
      “Nobody knows (what trades will happen). You could think we (the Hurricanes) might be interested in this guy that’s not even on the trade block. I would like to be in on some of those conversations.”
      So when his playing career is over, can he see himself wheeling and dealing players from the top of a front office?
      “That’s the goal of my career,” DeAngelo said. “I would love to. Believe it or not, as angry as I get when I play, I don’t get very angry as a coach. My temperament is totally different when I coach kids up to 15-/16-year-olds in tournaments.
      “My goal throughout my entire career is I would like to be a GM. That would be the goal. Who knows, with my temperament I might be trading guys every week.”
      DeAngelo admires Ron Hextall, the former Flyer goaltender and GM who now runs the show in Pittsburgh. Hextall was a fiery player but now is as cool as a cucumber as the Penguins GM.
      “He’s a calm GM,” DeAngelo said. “I couldn’t believe it. I actually thought he would like my temper more than he let on when we met at the (NHL) combine.”
      DeAngelo doesn’t sound concerned if he happens to end up on another team or one or more of his teammates does.
      “I’m going to be happy for someone who’s going to a playoff team and not going to a non-playoff team,” DeAngelo said. “It will be good for them to play in the playoffs. You never know what could happen in the summer, right? I’ve seen guys (like Braun for instance) go and come back.
      “For me, I could care less. It’s not on my mind. If I get traded – if somebody wanted me and the Flyers wanted to move me – I wouldn’t hold it against either team.”
      From a personal standpoint, it hasn’t been the sort of season DeAngelo envisioned. He will enter Wednesday’s game against the Rangers with a rather ugly minus-26.
      “It’s kind of been a weird year, puck luck-wise,” he admitted. “I haven’t played as well as I should at times. . .a little bit inconsistent for my liking.
      “For me, I would like to right the ship a little bit. I would be very disappointed if anything happened in that sense because I feel I have a lot to give this team.”
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About Wayne Fish 2452 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.