Ex-Shark Justin Braun embracing Flyers' youth after offseason trade

Ex-Shark Justin Braun embracing Flyers' youth after offseason trade

Wednesday's season-opening loss to the Vegas Golden Knights was the first time the Sharks began a campaign without defenseman Justin Braun in the lineup since Oct. 8, 2011. 

Back then, Braun still was skating with the AHL's Worcester Sharks, trying to carve out a regular role with San Jose. Eight years later, he's in the NHL, but orange and black has replaced teal following an offseason trade to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Braun is expected to make his Flyers debut Friday in Prague against Chicago, and the 32-year-old lined up alongside 22-year-old Philly blueliner Ivan Provorov at Thursday's practice. The veteran recently told NBC Sports Philadelphia that he hopes to pass on what he absorbed during nine seasons in San Jose.

"It was a great experience," Braun said. "It kind of got me my start. Learned a lot from the guys there over the years, but excited to be in a new spot and everyone's been great so far. Looking forward to getting things going." 

Braun played at least 20 minutes per night in each of the last six seasons, and he suited up in every Sharks playoff game in San Jose's previous seven postseason runs. The Flyers have only made the playoffs in three of the last seven seasons, but Braun still thinks his playoff experience will have plenty of application in the regular season as Philly tries to get back to the postseason.

"You're in those high-pressure spots, [you know] not to panic," Braun said. "You've gotta just make the next play, you can't be flipping pucks for icings all the time. You just gotta take a deep breath. You know you're gonna be up 1-0 late in games, and you gotta shut the door and get those two points."

Braun grew into a veteran leader in San Jose, and he now will be the second-oldest skater -- and the third-oldest player overall -- on a Flyers roster brimming with players under the age of 25. The Flyers have high-scoring veterans like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek leading the way, but Philadelphia has a younger complexion than San Jose did a season ago. 

"What I like about the Flyers is a lot of youth coming in," Braun said. "You've got young energy. I've been playing with some older guys over the years. ... Obviously, the vets [like] Giroux and Voracek -- I've been watching them for years and seeing the skill they've got and the points they can put up. And just watching [goaltender] Carter Hart guy play, he's been great. He works hard every day."

Braun's possession metrics slipped over the last three years, but he still was a defenseman the Sharks relied upon at even strength and on the penalty kill, and the Sharks defense has to adjust to life without him.

[RELATED: Sharks could be out key contributors in rematch with Vegas]

In Braun's absence, longtime partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic started the 2019-20 season alongside reigning Norris Trophy finalist Brent Burns and Brenden Dillon should slide in with Erik Karlsson when the All-Star returns to the team. Dalton Prout was set to skate with rookie Mario Ferraro on San Jose's third pairing, but Karlsson's absence due to a "personal matter" Wednesday brought Tim Heed back into the lineup. 

The Sharks' new-look pairings should -- in theory, at least -- settle by the time Braun plays his first game at SAP Center as an opponent on Dec. 28. That won't make seeing Braun suit up in a new uniform any less odd for his old teammates, though. 

How Sharks' previous trades, signings would be affected by new NHL CBA

How Sharks' previous trades, signings would be affected by new NHL CBA

The Sharks were forced to surrender multiple first-round draft picks over the past few years in order to retain top-of-the-line talent.

But in the NHL's new Collective Bargaining Agreement, San Jose's agreements with Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson would have been different.

Kane was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in Feb. of 2018, with the Sharks surrendering Daniel O'Regan and a fourth-round draft pick. But the deal included a condition that if Kane re-signed in San Jose, the compensation sent to Buffalo would increase in value. Sure enough, Kane re-upped with the Sharks and San Jose instead had to deal a 2019 first-round pick to the East Coast.

But the new agreement mandates that teams no longer can include conditions in trades that allow for further compensation if a player re-signs, meaning the Sharks would have been able to hold on to their 2019 first-round pick (No. 29 overall), which ended up being used by the Anaheim Ducks on Canadian wing Brayden Tracey.

[RELATED: How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan]

Previous CBA guidelines didn't allow NHL teams to sign players acquired via trade to an eight-year extension until after the following trade deadline. This forced San Jose to wait until June of 2019 to ink Karlsson to his eight-year, $92 million extension with the team, despite joining the organization in Sept. of 2018 after a trade with the Ottawa Senators.

But in the recently ratified CBA, this rule no longer will apply.

The 2019-20 NHL season returns to the ice on Aug. 1, but the Sharks won't be one of the 24 teams competing.

Sharks' Evander Kane announces daughter's birth after 'tough journey'


Sharks' Evander Kane announces daughter's birth after 'tough journey'

Just over a year after losing their daughter during pregnancy, Sharks forward Evander Kane and his wife, Anna, welcomed another daughter into the world.

The Kanes announced the birth of their daughter, Kensington Ava, on Thursday on social media. Evander Kane said his daughter was born on July 3. 

"My wife Anna is a rockstar, the strength and love she has displayed over the last 18 months," Kane wrote on Twitter. "We want to thank everyone who has reached out during this period in support of our family and (we) appreciate the kind words throughout this journey. I'm so proud of my daughter, it's tough to put into words how much she means to me."

Kane thanked the Sharks, their fans, his friends and family "for their overwhelming love" during a difficult time. Last March, Kane announced that their daughter, Eva, passed away 26 weeks into Anna's pregnancy.

"You gave us all, especially your mom and I, something to be excited about," Kane wrote of Eva on Twitter on March 14, 2019. "And though we are devastated that you couldn't stay with us longer, your mom and I will always cherish the time we had with your beautiful soul. Your spirit will give us strength, your love will give us comfort. We will love you forever."

The Sharks, San Jose teammate Mario Ferraro and Hockey Diversity Alliance co-founder Akim Aliu all commented on Kane's Instagram post on Thursday.