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Braydon Coburn falls asleep a Flyer, wakes up a Bolt

by Bryan Burns / Tampa Bay Lightning

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn turned his phone off Sunday night to get some uninterrupted sleep.

When he clicked it back on Monday morning, his whole world had changed.

Coburn was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning around 3 a.m. Monday in exchange for Bolts injured defenseman Radko Gudas and the Lightning’s first and third round picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Coburn said he learned of the trade when his wife Nadine got up at 6:30 a.m. to check on their one-and-a-half year old son Blair.

“She came back to the bedroom and took a look at her phone and said I needed to get up because something had happened during the night,” Coburn said. “I’m kind of glad I did turn my phone off. I don’t know if I would have been able to sleep if I took the call at 2:30 a.m.”

The 6-foot-5, 220 pound Coburn gives the Lightning a physical, veteran blue liner with over 600 games of experience in the NHL. The left-handed shooter who just celebrated his 30th birthday three days ago was the most-tenured Flyer prior to being dealt, having been acquired by Philadelphia on February 24, 2007, from the Atlanta Thrashers for Alexei Zhitnik.

Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said Coburn is a big guy with speed, range and reach who can skate well and defend well.

“I guess the biggest thing where he has played, what he has done is he’s been a defensive-minded defenseman that has matched up against the other team’s top players and that’s the most important thing to us,” Yzerman said. “He can log a lot of minutes.”

Yzerman’s goal entering Monday’s trade deadline was to find a top four defenseman, which he accomplished with the acquisition of Coburn.

“We feel like we’ve accomplished what we wanted and that was to give ourselves a better chance to win in the playoffs, a player that fits into our team next year and potentially beyond and we still retain the draft picks that we want to continue building,” he said.

Also early Monday morning, the Lightning traded forward Brett Connolly to Atlantic Division rival Boston for a second round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and another second rounder for 2016. Yzerman said the two trades were contingent on another -- had one not happened, the other likely wouldn’t have taken place either.

“We feel with our young players, with our young forwards that we can absorb the loss of trading Brett (Connolly) and with the group that we have plus the players available to us in Syracuse, we can absorb that loss,” Yzerman said. “…To get any of the top players that might be available, it was going to cost us the first round pick, hence the second deal (with Boston) that we did.”

Coburn played the seventh-most games in Philadelphia history among defensemen (517).

“I really enjoyed my time in Philadelphia,” Coburn said. “I met so many great people and teammates over the eight-plus seasons there. It’s definitely going to be tough to leave, but I’m going to a great team and a great city.”

Coburn said he will arrive in Tampa sometime today and will be available to play Tuesday’s game at Amalie Arena versus the Buffalo Sabres. Once he woke, Coburn called Yzerman Monday morning to speak with his new boss.

“I got a chance to talk to him, and he just said he was excited to bring me on,” Coburn said. “I told him the same thing. I’m really looking forward to getting there.”

Coburn will be reunited with former teammate Matt Carle in Tampa Bay. The two spent nearly four seasons together in Philadelphia before Carle joined the Lightning prior to the 2012-13 season. Coburn said he texted Carle after learning about the trade, and Carle told him “nothing but unbelievable things about Tampa.”

“What I know of the team is they’re really tough to play against,” Coburn said. “They’ve got some really dynamic players, and they’ve got all the pieces for sure: Great goaltending, great defense and all the firepower up front too.”

Ironically, Coburn suffered a lower-body injury in a game against the Lightning on January 12 and missed nearly a month of the season. He’s played in 39 total games for the Flyers this season.

“I blocked a shot on the penalty kill and broke a bone in my foot,” Coburn said. “That was kind of a bummer for me, but I feel 100% now.”

Coburn scored one goal and added eight assists for Philadelphia in 2014-15. He spent 16 minutes in the penalty box, had a minus-one plus-minus ratio, was third among Flyer defensemen for average time on ice (20:14) and led Philadelphia in average shifts per game (27.9) this season.

The Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, native set career highs for goals (nine), assists (27) and points (36) during the 2007-08 season in Philadelphia and has played in 72 career postseason games, all with the Flyers.

“His role in Philadelphia was to play against the Crosby’s, the Malkin’s, the Ovechkin’s and what not,” Yzerman said. “So, he’s comfortable in that role. We feel we’ve addressed our need to improve defensively, to be experienced.”

On the unlikely chance Tampa Bay doesn’t make the postseason and ends up with the first overall selection in the 2015 Draft, Philadelphia will receive the New York Rangers’ 2015 first round pick instead of Tampa Bay’s own first round selection.

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