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The Philadelphia have tried to improve their defense for the 2019-2020 National Hockey League regular season with the acquisitions of Justin Braun from the San Jose Sharks and Matt Niskanen from the Washington Capitals. Niskanen was acquired from the Capitals for enforcer Radko Gudas on Friday and Braun was acquired from the Sharks for a second round draft pick in the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft and a third round draft pick in the 2020 National Hockey League Entry Draft on Tuesday.
Both Braun and Niskanen are from Minnesota. Braun is from Saint Paul, while Niskanen is from Virginia, MN.
Niskanen is considered to be a little more offensive minded than Braun. In 2019 with the Capitals, Niskanen had eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points, was a -3, with 41 penalty minutes, two power play points, one game winning goal, one shorthanded point, 143 shots on goal, 137 blocked shots, 167 hits, 40 takeaways and 73 giveaways.
Braun meanwhile had two goals and 14 assists for 16 points, was a -14 with 35 penalty minutes, one power play assist, 105 shots on goal, 120 blocked shots, 121 hits, 34 takeaways and 51 giveaways. One area of concern for the Flyers however is the fact that Niskanen and Braun were both minus players on very good teams in 2018-19.
Braun and Niskanen are also bringing a winning history to the Flyers. Braun helped the Sharks get to the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals, while Niskanen won a Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018.
Braun has played his entire NHL career with the Sharks since 2010-11. He was the Sharks’ seventh round draft pick, 201st overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Niskanen meanwhile played four seasons each with the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins before five seasons with the Capitals.
Gudas, a defenseman, is one of the last true enforcers in the NHL today. The 29 year old native of Prague, has 579 penalty minutes in 416 games over the last seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Flyers. Last season, Gudas was a little more gentle as he had only 63 penalty minutes in 77 games in Philadelphia. Offensively, he had four goals and 16 assists for 20 points.