GM Ron Hextall made it clear that the Flyers will be sellers at the trade deadline. Another defenseman has been sent packing, and again Hextall managed to get the return he saw fit.
At around 2:00 AM, Braydon Coburn was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas, a 2015 first round pick and 2015 second round pick. Coburn was long rumored to be on the trade block, especially with the Flyers looking to unload contracts and free up some salary cap space. He was set to make $4.5 million next season and looks to be heading towards the downside of his career.
Although Coburn has dealt with injuries and not played particularly well this season, he had been very reliable over his 12 year career. The 30-year-old was drafted eighth overall in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers and sent to Philadelphia via trade in 2007. His size, physical strength, and ability to play a lot of minutes made him one of the Flyer’s best defenseman over the last decade. However, his recent inconsistency and problems with turning the puck over has overshadowed what has actually been a pretty good run here.
The important piece of this trade is the two high draft picks the Flyers received. Stocking up on assets to build a team through the draft is the way great franchises are built, and this is the approach Hextall wants to take. So it is likely these picks will stay, unless some team blows him away with a trade in which he could package them together to bring in a young star. He has managed to make two trades in a matter of a few days where it appears the Flyers will come out on top in the end.
Gudas, 24, is a young, physical defenseman that is going to provide depth on the blue line at a much reduced cost. He is still recovering from surgery due to a right knee injury, and probably won’t make his debut as a Flyer this season, unless they make the playoffs. The Lightning basically sweetened the deal, giving up a player that has some value as a lower pairing defenseman.