Justin Braun leads Sharks defensemen with a plus-minus of plus-16 and is second behind Dan Boyle with 21 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time per game.
Braun's offensive numbers remain modest, with three goals and 11 assists in 58 games this season. But his improved skating ability has allowed him to join the rush more often and still be aware of his responsibilities on the defensive end, where he usually matches up with the opposing team's top line. Braun, who turns 27 on Monday, wasn't invited to the Americans' Olympic orientation camp last summer and never really seemed to catch the full attention of those who chose the team, which features some of the best defensemen in the NHL. But he is quietly having the best season of his NHL career, which began with the Sharks in November, 2010. "He's an elite skater, but he's brought it to another level this year," Sharks assistant coach Jim Johnson said. "He spent time this summer working on it, and you can see that the effort he's put in over the course of the last year has really benefited him. He's been a real bright spot for us on the back end."
Sat, Feb 8, 2014 11:13:00 AM