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April 24, 2023

Flyers defenseman Justin Braun retires after 13 NHL seasons

Braun, who officially retired Monday, played 842 career games between the Flyers, Sharks, and Rangers.

Justin Braun was in the lineup for the Flyers' season finale out in Chicago, his father was on the bench with him, and sitting at 199 career points, he was put on the top power-play unit as his teammates tried everything they could to get him that last assist or goal to break 200. 

For anyone watching, the writing was on the wall for the 36-year-old defenseman. This was it, and on Monday, he made it official. 

Braun, after 842 NHL games total between the Flyers, San Jose Sharks, and New York Rangers, has called it a career after 13 seasons. 

A seventh-round pick by the Sharks in the 2007 draft, Braun made his NHL debut in 2010 and carved out a regular role as a steady, stay-at-home defenseman for a San Jose club that was a constant playoff contender throughout the decade. 

Ahead of the 2019 draft, he was dealt to Philadelphia for a second-round pick and a 2020 third-rounder as a reliable depth piece for a Flyers club that, at the time, had clear aspirations of making the playoffs after toiling for years with a Ron Hextall-led rebuild that grew aimless. 

And in that first full year with Chuck Fletcher as the GM, everything was working. The Flyers were playing good hockey, and Braun's performance, for the type of defenseman he was, could be summed up in the best way possible: When he was in, there was nothing to talk about, because nothing was happening. 

Of course, everything went south soon after. 

COVID hit, and after the Toronto bubble, the Flyers fell apart. 

Braun remained, and was even their best defenseman for a stretch last season, but was eventually traded to the Rangers as depth for their playoff push. 

He rejoined the Flyers on a one-year deal over the summer, but his place in the lineup steadily faded with the organization increasingly looking to get younger as a rebuild grew inevitable. 

The writing was on the wall. This was it, and it all set in once Ivan Provorov scored the game-winner in Chicago to send off the season earlier this month, with Braun falling just a bounce shy of that 200th career point. 

"Emotional, yeah," Braun said postgame. "It didn't really hit me 'til Provy scored that that's it."

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