The market for defensively sound depth defensemen is always a hot one, especially around the Trade Deadline as teams assess their deficiencies as they prepare for playoff runs. While Ben Chiarot discourse has been steamrolling its way through the public lately, he won’t be the only defensive specialist with playoff experience available at the Deadline. He’s not the biggest piece the Philadelphia Flyers may have for sale, but it looks like veteran defenseman Justin Braun could be a rental for a team looking to win this Spring.
On the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun suggests that multiple teams are interested in Braun’s services, but specifically lists the Toronto Maple Leafs as one of those teams.
Braun, now 35 years old, has exactly 100 games of playoff experience under his belt, 84 of which came with the San Jose Sharks. Since arriving in Philadelphia in 2019, even as his offense began to decline with age, he’s maintained his status as a stellar defensive specialist in a bottom-four role.
The price to acquire Braun shouldn’t be nearly as astronomical as the rumored first-round pick for Chiarot, as recency bias tends to reign supreme on Deadline day. It could be a very solid value acquisition for any team, though, as a mid-round pick spent on Braun seems like a much smarter move than a high-round pick or prospect spent on Chiarot.
Specifically for Toronto, Braun seems like an extremely logical replacement in the lineup for Justin Holl, who’s also a right-shot defenseman. Holl has struggled mightily this season, getting consistently outshined by Toronto’s young pair of D-men in Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. Adding Braun to the mix would create incredible depth and injury insurance at defense for Toronto in the playoffs, as defensive depth issues caused by injury have exposed them in recent years.