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Braun changes teams, coasts with trade to Flyers

Defenseman who played nine seasons for Sharks excited to join Philadelphia

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

EDINA, Minn. -- Justin Braun is excited for a change of scenery, and coasts.

"It'll be a huge change," Braun said Wednesday at Da Beauty League, a 3-on-3 set of games for NHL players with ties to Minnesota. "I've been in San Jose for a long time, so it's something new and different, but I'm excited about it. I get to meet a whole new set of guys and see what it's like to play on the East Coast."

The 32-year-old defenseman was selected by the Sharks in the seventh round (No. 201) of the 2007 NHL Draft and played nine seasons for them. He was traded to the Flyers on June 18 for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Braun, who has 154 points (24 goals, 130 assists) in 607 NHL games, is one of five key additions the Flyers made this offseason. Philadelphia hired Alain Vigneault to replace Scott Gordon as coach on April 15; acquired forward Kevin Hayes in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on June 3 and then signed him to a seven-year contract on June 18; acquired defenseman Matt Niskanen in a trade with the Washington Capitals for defenseman Radko Gudas on June 14; and acquired forward Tyler Pitlick in a trade with the Dallas Stars for forward Ryan Hartman on June 24.

"It really is exciting to go into a new organization with so many new faces," Braun said. "I think it's also little bit of pressure going to a new organization. You don't have much equity going in, you've got to earn that from Day One at camp. It's a little pressure but that's good as you get a little older. It's a good mix of young and old I think, which looks really promising."

The Flyers (37-37-8) finished 16 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference last season, the fourth time in the past seven seasons they failed to reach the postseason.

Braun, who played in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final and in the Western Conference Final with the Sharks last season, said the additions and young goalie Carter Hart will spark a solid core in Philadelphia this season.

"They've got a younger group, tons of skill," Braun said. "Playing against them has always been tough. Hart, if he can lock it down, [Brian] Elliott, the goaltending situation's dialed in, we'll be a tough team."

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