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Flyers add to 'D' with Meszaros, Coburn, O'Donnell

by Adam Kimelman /
The Philadelphia Flyers have spent the first day of free agency bulking up their defense.

After the team dealt a 2012 second-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Andrej Meszaros, the team re-signed restricted free agent Braydon Coburn to a two-year contract. The Sporting News reports value of the contract at $6.4 million.

The Flyers also have signed veteran Sean O'Donnell to a one-year contract that reportedly will pay him $1 million.

The 25-year-old Coburn had 19 points in 81 games last season, and played a key role on the team's power-play and penalty-killing units, mostly playing alongside Kimmo Timonen.

O'Donnell, 39, won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, alongside Chris Pronger. O'Donnell also has been given credit for helping Drew Doughty go from 18-year-old rookie to Norris Trophy finalist in two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. Last season, he had 3 goals and 15 points in 78 games.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren has said he wanted Pronger playing fewer minutes during the regular season than he did last season, and with today's moves he certainly has given coach Peter Laviolette multiple options. A third pairing of Meszaros and O'Donnell is an upgrade over Ryan Parent, Lukas Krajicek and Oskars Bartulis, who rotated as the third pairing for most of the season.

All that emphasis on defense will make the job of whoever ends up in goal far easier. The team re-signed Michael Leighton, last season's starter, to a two-year contract on Wednesday, and also has last season's backup, Brian Boucher signed for one more season. The team also reportedly has had discussions with Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco, although today's moves might have priced them out of the Flyers' salary cap. They could stick with Leighton, Boucher and rookie Johan Backlund, who signed a two-year contract not long after the season ended, or try to find another lower-cost option from the remaining group of netminders.

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