Flyers deal Coburn to Lightning for Gudas, draft picks

The Flyers continued to retool for the future early Monday morning, sending veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn to Tampa Bay for injured defenseman Radko Gudas and first- and third-round draft picks in June.

The deal was completed on the last day of the trade deadline.

"It was a little bit of a shock to wake up to that news," said Coburn, who spent seven-plus seasons with the Flyers and was their longest-tenured player. "There was a mix of tears and excitement in my house."

"Braydon was a very good player for us for a long time, but we got a lot of assets coming back," coach Craig Berube said.

Even without Coburn, the Flyers said they still considered themselves playoff contenders. With 19 games left, they are six points out of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

"We lost a good player, but we have capable guys to come in there," said Berube, whose team is expected to have Andrew MacDonald and Carlo Colaiacovo back in the lineup Tuesday against visiting Calgary. "We've won a lot of games without Braydon in the lineup this year; he was injured a lot. I don't believe it weakens us at all."

"He's going to be missed" center Sean Couturier said. "He was a huge part of our team . . . but we still believe in our group. I mean, we're definitely not going to quit now and we can still battle for a playoff spot,"

"It doesn't change our mind-set," defenseman Luke Schenn added. "We're still going to continue to push."

Coburn, 30, said he was "blessed and really thankful to be a Flyer, and I'm excited to move on and play with Tampa Bay."

Tampa Bay is second in the Atlantic Division and among the top Eastern Conference contenders to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning have 82 points - 17 more than the Flyers.

Like Kimmo Timonen, who was traded to Chicago on Friday, Coburn said the highlight of his career with the Flyers was reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

With Coburn's departure, captain Claude Giroux becomes the longest-tenured Flyer - and the only one remaining who has been with them continuously since they reached the 2010 Finals.

"It's tough to leave Philly, because this has been my home. I really love it here. My family loves it here. . . . both my kids were born in Philadelphia, and I'm really proud of that, that they have that," Coburn said. ". . . There's a lot of good people here. By the same token, I understand it's a business, and I'm going to a great organization."

Gudas, 24, who said he was surprised and excited by the trade, has a salary-cap hit of close to $1 million, and he is signed though the end of next season. A year ago, he led NHL defensemen in penalty minutes (152) and was second in hits (273).

"He doesn't back up from anything," said Flyers winger Jake Voracek, who grew up near Gudas in the Czech Republic and played on youth teams with him and again in the 2014 Olympics. "He's strong as a bull, and he's hard to play against because you know when you get hit, it's going to hurt."

Gudas had arthroscopic surgery Jan. 6 on his right knee and probably won't play again this season. He plays solid defense and can join the attack, said Voracek, who added that general manager Ron Hextall did not ask for his input before making the trade.

In 31 games before he was sidelined, Gudas had five points and was minus-5.

In 39 games, Coburn had nine points and was minus-1. He has missed time because he twice fractured his left foot this season.

"He was a good pro, an underrated player," said Hextall, who noted that if Tampa Bay fails to make the playoffs - which is almost impossible - and ends up with the No. 1 overall pick, the Flyers would get the Rangers' No. 1 selection, which the Lightning had previously acquired.

Coburn, drafted eighth overall by Atlanta in 2003, was dealt to the Flyers in 2007. He had some good seasons with the Flyers - especially when paired with Timonen - but never lived up to expectations.

In Tampa, Coburn will be reunited with former Flyer Matt Carle. Coburn has a $4.5 million cap hit on a contract that ends after next season. (Carle is recovering from abdominal surgery but could return to the lineup in the next week.)

Breakaways

Fourth-line center Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare, who has become one of the team's top penalty-killers, signed a two-year contract extension for a total of $1.425 million. . . . Nick Grossmann, who was hit on the head and shoulder when he blocked a shot Saturday, is doubtful for Tuesday's game against visiting Calgary and rookie sensation Johnny Gaudreau (Gloucester Catholic). . . . Ray Emery (lower body injury) will back up Steve Mason in goal.


More Picks, More Money

Here are some of the ramifications of the Flyers' trades that sent Braydon Coburn to Tampa Bay and Kimmo Timonen to Chicago:

The Flyers now have five picks in the first three rounds of the deep June draft: two in the first round, one in the second, and three in the third. They also have two selections in the fourth round, and one in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

Defenseman Radko Gudas, acquired from Tampa Bay as part of the Coburn trade, was teammates with Jake Voracek on the Czech Republic Olympic team last year. He had knee surgery in January and is not expected to play again this season.

The Flyers have about $26.3 million (a manageable number) committed to seven defensemen for next season, not including restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto.

The Flyers have about $4.9 million in salary-cap space. The $69 million cap is expected to grow to $73 million next season.

- Sam Carchidi