Flyers

Justin Braun embracing Philly (fans and media), new challenge with Flyers

Justin Braun embracing Philly (fans and media), new challenge with Flyers

Following a preseason game, Justin Braun said, “I’ve never seen so much media.”

For the first time in his career, Braun is no longer in San Jose, where he played from 2010-19, appeared in 84 playoff games and made a run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The 32-year-old defenseman is excited about being in Philadelphia and believes his experience can help a Flyers team that hasn’t won a postseason series since 2012.

The Flyers have youth across their blue line. Shayne Gostisbehere is 26, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin are 24, Travis Sanheim is 23 and Ivan Provorov is 22. Philippe Myers, who isn’t far away from joining the group, is 22.

“Coming here and the playoff experience in San Jose, it translates to the regular season pretty good,” Braun said last month in a sit-down interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derek Souders. “You’re in those high-pressure spots, not to panic, you’ve got to just make the next play, you can’t be flipping pucks for icings all the time. You’ve just got to take a deep breath, you’re going to be up 1-0 late in games and you’ve got to shut the door.”

Braun and another accomplished defenseman Matt Niskanen have a chance to improve the Flyers’ goal prevention. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Braun brings physicality and an active stick.

"I'm not the guy that's going to go out and have a big open-ice hit,” Braun said in training camp. “Mine is more contained. I like to get physical with guys but that's more to knock them off the puck, get them straight-legged. 

“I'm not the [Niklas] Kronwall and blow anyone up coming up the boards like that. I'll play guys hard, but I wasn't gifted with that timing, too, to absolutely smoke guys center ice. Have that gap, end plays on the wall, if they chip the puck, finish that hit. Because if you let them off the hook, they're just going to have easy nights.”

For more from Braun on Philly, his style of play and the Flyers’ youth, watch the "Break the Ice" video above.

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Flyers place Andy Welinski on NHL waivers, will create more cap space

Flyers place Andy Welinski on NHL waivers, will create more cap space

Andy Welinski, who had been out with a lower-body injury, was deemed healthy Monday and placed on waivers.

If the 26-year-old defenseman expectedly clears, he will report to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

The move is notable for a few reasons.

The Flyers' cap space will increase from $283,811 to $1,033,811, according to CapFriendly.com.

Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder) remains on injured reserve and counts against the cap like Welinski did. When the 20-year-old center is healthy, the Flyers will have room for him because the roster is at 21 players. Patrick appears to be getting closer to a return as he is with the Flyers on their current three-game road trip.

The Flyers might still make a move when Patrick inserts the lineup. An odd man out could be Connor Bunnaman or Carsen Twarynski, both 21-year-old rookies. It would make sense if the Flyers want them playing games at Lehigh Valley rather than sitting in the press box as an extra forward.

If the Flyers decide to send one of those players down, it would also create more cap flexibility. Chris Stewart, a veteran winger who turns 32 years old this month, remains with the team on a pro tryout.

As for Welinski, he will help a young Phantoms team if he clears waivers. Welinski has played 146 career AHL games and appeared in a career-high 26 games for the Ducks last season.

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Is Jakub Voracek's trimmed ice time a big deal?

Is Jakub Voracek's trimmed ice time a big deal?

Jakub Voracek’s 14:30 ice time Saturday night was certainly noteworthy.

It marked the 30-year-old winger’s fewest minutes in a game since the 2015-16 season. When the Flyers were trailing, 2-1, during the third period, one of their best and most experienced playmakers saw no more than three minutes of the ice. In the final stanza, Voracek was bumped off the first line and had shifts with the team’s fourth unit.

The development, which comes in the third game of the season under a new head coach, is nothing to sweep under the rug as if it never happened.

Is it troubling, though? No, at least not yet.

The fact is the Flyers have great depth in their top six. So much so that James van Riemsdyk, a two-time 30-goal scorer and the Flyers’ fourth-highest-paid player, opened the season on the third line.

On Saturday night in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Canucks (see observations), the Flyers were looking to spark their offense during the third period. They had one goal and 17 shots on net at the time. Head coach Alain Vigneault has said how he’s still searching for the best chemistry within his forward combinations and defensive pairs.

JVR, who finished with 15:11 and 15:37 minutes in the Flyers’ first two games, respectively, played 20:19 Saturday night. His jump to the first line was effective as the Flyers outshot the Canucks, 14-6, during the third period with van Riemsdyk, Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux creating plenty of offense.

When asked Tuesday if he was inclined to experiment with lines early in the season, Vigneault said:

Yes, until I find the chemistry. I’m a firm believer in I think players like to stay on the same line — chemistry gets formed and accountability gets formed also between linemates and D partners. Last game against Chicago was the first time that I felt throughout the four lines we had some chemistry that enabled us to play well defensively and generate some chances offensively. How long that’s going to stay? It’s going to depend obviously on the players’ performance. Until I find the right mix — it could be a duo with a guy going in and out, it could be a line. I’d prefer it be lines, but that obviously depends on the players’ performances.

Vigneault will switch things up and try different combinations. He will also spread out ice time to maximize his push-the-pace, hard-on-the-attack style.

If anything, this is an indication that competition is aplenty among the Flyers’ forwards. There is talent available and minutes are up for grabs.

If you want those minutes, you have to earn them and then keep them.

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