Erik Johnson

Erik Johnson was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers by the Buffalo Sabres on Friday for a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

The 35-year-old defenseman signed a one-year contract July 1, 2023, and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Johnson had three goals in 50 games for the Sabres.

Flyers general manager Daniel Briere said adding veteran experience at defenseman was at the top of his wish list as the deadline approached.

Philadelphia traded defenseman Sean Walker to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, and is missing defensemen Nick Seeler (lower body), Jamie Drysdale (upper body) and Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body).

"We removed a pretty big piece in Sean Walker and the guys have worked extremely hard to get us to the point that they've gotten us this year," Briere said. "I'm not expecting or asking Erik Johnson to replace Sean Walker. What we're looking for from Erik is to bring his experience, the fact that he's played for a long time, the fact that he's played a lot of playoff games, the fact that he's won a Stanley Cup. Hopefully he can share a little bit of that with our young group, especially on defense right now, with all the injuries we have."

Selected by the St. Louis Blues with the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Johnson has 340 points (91 goals, 249 assists) in 970 regular-season games for the Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Sabres. He has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 55 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won the Cup with Colorado in 2022.

Philadelphia also acquired Denis Gurianov from the Nashville Predators on Friday for forward Wade Allison. Gurianov, a 26-year-old forward, had one goal and one assist in 14 games for Nashville, and 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 27 games for Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.

Gurianov was a first-round pick (No. 12) by the Dallas Stars at the 2015 NHL Draft. He has 113 points (52 goals, 61 assists) in 294 regular-season games with the Stars, Montreal Canadiens and Predators, and 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 32 playoff games.

Briere said Gurianov would join the Flyers and could be in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, NBCSP).

"He's interesting," Briere said. "Big (6-foot-3, 205 pound) left winger that can skate like him, the fact that he's had some success in some big games. He had a pretty interesting playoff run a few years ago (17 points in 27 games with Stars in 2020). I know it's been a little tougher for him the last couple years, but if he catches fire again, we're a little thin on the left side, and he brings us speed and size. Who know where that goes."

Briere also said forward Ryan Johansen will report to Lehigh Valley of the AHL after the Flyers were unable to trade him. The 31-year-old forward came to Philadelphia in the Walker trade but was placed on waivers, with Briere saying the Flyers would look for another team for Johansen.

"There were a select few teams that danced around, but at the end of the day nobody was willing to make the move," Briere said. "We were willing to retain [salary] on him too. Unfortunately it just didn't pan out. So at this time we're going to ask him to report to Lehigh Valley and hopefully he can get it going again. Things change fast in hockey. You never know. Hopefully for him he can get it going in Lehigh Valley and we'll see where that goes."

Philadelphia (33-23-8) is third in the Metropolitan Division, four points ahead of the New York Islanders. The Flyers have played two more games. deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman contributed to this report

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