TAMPA -- When Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman acquired defenseman Braydon Coburn from the Philadelphia Flyers in the early morning hours of the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2, he wasn’t just adding a solid veteran.
He was giving Lightning coach Jon Cooper a prime top pairing on defense.
The addition of Coburn allowed Cooper to play Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman together on his top pair, but the combination lasted four games together before Coburn broke his foot, costing him six weeks of action.
Without Coburn to play with Jason Garrison on the second pair, Cooper preferred to split Hedman from Stralman. But Cooper said he knew what the Lightning had in Coburn right away.
"He did impress in those first four games, and for me he’s done nothing but make our general manager look good in that trade," Cooper said. "He’s kind of rounded out our top four, he’s given us another big-body defender, somebody that sticks up for his teammates."