Until he played the other day in Winnipeg, Justin Braun has missed every game since January 2nd. Up until just before Christmas, he played in every game. Since then, he’s been a scratch. He has no points this season and has since seemed to be a forgotten man on the Flyers.
That’s not fair. It isn’t that he is forgotten. The Flyers have high-priced defenders in Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen, Ivan Provorov, and Tony DeAngelo. It doesn’t make sense to sit them and not play unless they are hurt or you are making a statement. Cam York, a rookie, has played quite well so far in his first month or so of play and he needs to stretch his legs and learn the NHL game. Likewise, Nick Seeler is also playing well and giving everything he has. That means someone has to sit, and unfortunately, that means Braun.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old defender has done nothing wrong this year. He’s averaged 16 minutes of ice time and actually has a +1 rating. It’s just that he is on a team in transition. Seeler and York need to get ice time. They are part of the future of this team. Braun…well…Braun isn’t.
But lucky for him, a suitor may have arrived: the New York Rangers. And if you remember, the Rangers traded for him last year. And to be honest, it was kind of hard to see him in red, white, and blue instead of orange and black.
Reports out of NY show that the Rangers are looking for deadline help on the blue line. They have some cap space flexibility, but may not have the assets to land a premier defender, like Erik Karlsson. Maybe they do have enough to trade for others. Braun could fit that role.
He has familiarity with the system. He paired up well with Braden Schneider, then a rookie. He brings a veteran’s experience and touch that a playoff-bound team could use. It seems to be a perfect fit.
It would be hard to see Braun in a Rangers uniform again, but if it is the best move for him and us, we should look to explore it. We probably won’t get a third-round pick again…but then again, how desperate will the Rangers be?