The Flyers and Ron Hextall may have won the trade deadline in 2015.
Not only were they able to get two very good draft picks (a second and conditional fourth) for 39-year-old Kimmo Timonen, they were also able to get younger at defense swapping Braydon Coburn (30) for Radko Gudas (24), open up salary cap room, and get another first round pick (and a third) in the upcoming draft.
Philly did not relent its playoff hopes while building for the future. Not bad work for the Flyers' GM.
The Lightning trade sends nine-year veteran Coburn to Tampa Bay, a team in the thick of the playoff picture.
"Tampa’s been near the top of the East all year," Coburn told the media Monday, "and they’ve got a lot of great pieces… they’ve got great goaltending and really significantly skilled forwards, and I think their defense is really good too. They’ve got a lot of skill in place there. I’m excited to join that group."
He still has hope for his former team, the Flyers, who are alive but in a tough spot six points behind the Bruins for the final playoff spot.
"I think the team here is really good," the defenseman said. "Our play’s been improving, and there’s still games to win here. I really hope they can squeak in there."
Taking his place, perhaps eventually, is the young Czech defender Gudas, who brings along with him a valuable first round pick (and a third rounder) from the Lightning. He is in recovery from recent knee surgery but is excited to find out what all the fuss is about with the Broad Street Bullies.
"I see it as a different opportunity," Gudas, who is a friend and former teammate of Flyers' forward Jakub Voracek, said. "Philadelphia wanted me to play for them, so I’m excited to be on a team that’s excited to have me. I’m looking forward to joining. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the organization and the team. I’m looking forward to it."
On his fellow countryman, Voracek told CSNPhilly's Tim Panaccio: “He’s a gritty player and very tough to play against. Fans are gonna love him here. He’s a kind of player who is hard to play against.”
It's a new beginning for Gudas, who could be joined in upcoming years by a bevy of talented defensemen prospects, like Shayne Ghostisbehere and Samuel Morin. It's bittersweet for Coburn, who came of age in the orange and black.
"It’s tough to leave Philly, because this has been my home," Coburn, who scored 161 points in 576 games as a Flyer said. "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. We’ve made lots of friends and I feel like the Flyers have been family to me for most of my 20s. 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 in Tampa and I’ve heard nothing but great things. I’m excited to try to help them in any way I can."
Coburn led the Flyers this season in average shifts per game at 27.9 and was third in average ice time at 20:14. Gudas played in 31 games for Tampa Bay, (scoring two goals, three assists) but is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.