With the monster Erik Karlsson extension still fresh, it was obvious the Sharks would have to make moves to fit both Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc under the cap, along with some smaller signings, while still losing the likes of Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, and Gustav Nyquist to free agency. My hope was that teams would stop this utter “don’t offer-sheet” nonsense and actually offer-sheet someone, but instead, the Flyers decided to trade a second- and third-round pick for defenceman Justin Braun.
This frees up a little over $3M in extra cap space for the Sharks, which they will surely need. It makes them less susceptible to offer sheets now, not that they were ever in real danger because, as stated earlier, most NHL teams are scared to death of giving an offer sheet.
What this also means is that, I assume, Tim Heed will be returning and finally will be given regular third-pair minutes. Heed is a guy who really reminds me of Colin Miller back in his Boston days; irregularly in the lineup but when he does, there is generally good process and results. Of course, Heed is a UFA, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. But the lineup spot is now there.
Not long after trading for a right-handed defenceman in Matt Niskanen, they trade for another one in Justin Braun. Not that Braun has ever had much fantasy value outside of peripherals, but this is bad news for Philippe Myers. This trade allows Philly to run Niskanen-Braun down the right side with Myers, at best, on the third pair. Then there’s the abundance of left shots and the possibility of sliding someone to the right side. Whether they decide to use Myers on the third pair or not is still up in the air, but it makes me wary of some sort of breakout in 2019-20.
This doesn’t really hurt the Flyers, I think. Braun has one year left and a lot of cap space this year. Maybe he can flourish in a lesser role than he had been playing with the Sharks because he’s not the player he was 4-5 years ago.
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