The Flyers have traded defenseman Braydon Coburn to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a pair of 2015 draft picks - including a first-rounder - and defenseman Radko Gudas.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston was the first to report the news, which was confirmed by the Flyers just before 8 a.m. Monday morning.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 2, 2015
The two draft picks the Flyers will receive in return for Coburn are in the first and third rounds. The Lightning currently hold two first-round picks. If they fail to make the playoffs and end up with the No. 1 overall pick, the Flyers will get the New York Rangers' natural spot, which was dealt to Tampa last year in the Martin St. Louis trade.
Having said that, at the moment Tampa Bay is in second place in the Atlantic Division, and is tied for the third-highest points total in the Eastern Conference. So the odds of them mising the postseason are slim.
As for Coburn, he was in the middle of his ninth season in Philadelphia, where he suited up in 39 games. In total, Coburn played 576 games for the Flyers.
Despite logging significant ice time during his time with the franchise, he's had a reduced role - in part due to injuries - since Craig Berube became coach. But it was no surprise that he was trade bait, as veteran defensemen are always sought-after at this time of year by playoff contenders.
Coburn acknowledged last week in a conversation with Frank Seravalli of the Daily News that he knew he could be on the move. But as the Inquirer's Sam Carchidi wrote Monday, the huge salaries on the Flyers' payroll had the potential to tie general manager Ron Hextall's hands - even if he wanted to make a deal.
It turns out that the Lightning were willing to take on Coburn's $4.5 million cap hit - and in so doing, bail out Hextall in a huge way. And as Carchidi wrote Monday, it's the second big deal Hextall has made to get an ageing veteran off his roster.
If the Flyers can make more moves before Monday's 3 p.m. deadline, they'll have the roster space to start developing prospects and the cap space to go after the top-tier players they really need.