Braydon Coburn arrived in Philadelphia for the first time on Feb. 24, 2007, without the slightest clue about the Flyers’ organization or who his new teammates would be.
His first introduction to them was at the Flyers Wives’ Fight for Lives Carnival that day at the Wells Fargo Center.
Fast forward 5 years: Pavel Kubina is in the same position.
Kubina, 34, arrives in Philadelphia today for the first time after his agonizingly long trade from Tampa Bay on Saturday night. Pressed to move him before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, the struggling Lightning kept him off the ice for 2 straight games to “protect their interests.”
And despite the Flyers’ scuffling on the ice, Kubina will likely meet his new mates in an all-smiles scenario during the Carnival.
The deal was finally consummated on Saturday night, with the Flyers reportedly edging out Detroit, as Kubina was acquired in exchange for a 2nd round pick (in 2012 or 2013, Florida’s choice), a 4th round pick in 2013, and Phantoms forward Jon Kalinski.
Kalinski was added to the deal on Saturday night so the Flyers could fit Kubina under the NHL’s strict 50 contract limit.
Rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon was sent back to Adirondack to make room on the 23-man roster.
Now, the attention shifts to what general manager Paul Holmgren has left up his sleeve over the next 8 days before the deadline passes at 3 o’clock on Feb. 27 while the Flyers are in San Jose.
According to a league source, the Flyers’ trade front was finally “all quiet” on Sunday.
Yes, it was Carnival day, with the Flyers’ main focus on charity and giving back to the community, but the sense I get from multiple people in the organization is that Holmgren would be comfortable heading into the playoffs with the team as it is currently assembled.
And that would include not having Columbus captain Rick Nash.
For the longest time on Saturday, it seemed like the Flyers might have jumped to be a front-runner in the Nash sweepstakes, since general manager Scott Howson visited with Holmgren face-to-face for the second time in a week. Columbus’ senior adviser Craig Patrick also watched the Flyers play in person for the second time in 3 days. And a Flyers scout was in Ohio to see the Blue Jackets get shellacked by Chicago.
As each hour passes, the Flyers are less and less likely to deal for Nash.
The asking price – likely Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Sergei Bobrovsky with picks – is just simply too much for the Flyers to stomach. It would gut a big part of their present-day depth, let alone how much it would change their future outlook.
And it certainly seems like Columbus is looking for a new suitor.
Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke confirmed to multiple outlets that he met with Howson on Sunday morning at a New York City hotel for an “unscheduled meeting.” Burke wouldn’t comment further.
The Rangers remain a key, quiet competitor for Nash.
And out west, the nose-diving Los Angeles Kings – who have fallen out of the playoff picture after being shutout in 2 straight games – could be more and more desperate for Nash as the week drags on. They were already rumored to be interested in reuniting Jeff Carter with Mike Richards via trade.
Besides, the Flyers – who lead the NHL in goals – don’t need the offense. They’ve accomplished that feat while enduring lengthy slumps from Jaromir Jagr, Danny Briere, and even the injured James van Riemsdyk.
It was their defense and goaltending that needed work. Now, with Kubina and Nicklas Grossman in the fold, the Flyers likely have one of the top units in the league – even without Chris Pronger.
It’s hard to sit here now and say that the Flyers are not better prepared for the playoffs with the addition of these two, hulking defensemen. But do Grossman and Kubina really make the Rangers or Bruins lose sleep at night?
That, like the rest of the week, remains to be seen.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers