The Philadelphia Flyers will be without Matt Niskanen after the veteran defenseman decided to retire a year before his contract expired, but they are bringing back some more experience on the backend. Justin Braun has signed a new two-year contract with the Flyers that will carry an average annual value of $1.8MM. Braun was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
Even though he can’t fill the same skates as Niskanen, this deal represents quite the bargain for the Flyers who will bring back Braun at a discount. The 33-year-old defenseman is coming off a five-year contract that carried a $3.8MM cap hit, meaning he’ll take quite the pay cut to remain in Philadelphia. The long-time San Jose Shark ended up playing in 62 games during his first year with the Flyers, recording 19 points and averaging just over 17 minutes a night.
That number could potentially increase in Niskanen’s absence, with Braun at least taking on a good amount of penalty killing work next season. He was actually statistically the team’s most effective option there, though Niskanen and Ivan Provorov logged much more short-handed time.
Regardless, Braun represents a fairly cheap option for a team looking to go on another deep playoff run next season. The Flyers were a game away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals and could be targeting some big names with their new cap space.