Trade Target - Braydon Coburn (D - PHI)

Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers

This is another in our ongoing series about players that the Oilers should target in the process of transforming their roster at the trade deadline to solidify the team for a Stanley Cup run.

The Oilers defensive transition isn't complete.  The rebuilding club still has a 33-year old defenseman making $5.4 million per year and two years left on that deal.  Moving him and replacing him with a younger physical defenseman that fits in the "recovery" window should be one of Steve Tambellini's highest priorities in the off-season.

"There are certain guys on this team that are going to be back here next year," Holmgren said. "And there are certain guys who aren't."  "So if the season ended today, you have a pretty good idea of what you would do?" I asked.  "Most of it, yeah," he said.  Holmgren later spoke of "evaluations" and of being "at the point now where we have to stop making excuses."

--Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News Columnst

Donnellon goes on to say "...A kind assessment of the Flyers is that they are still a young team in transition, plagued with inconsistencies. Is it Richards' fault that Ray Emery got hurt or that Braydon Coburn took one giant step backwards..."

Braydon Coburn fills the Oilers' need perfectly - he's 25 years old, he's got 291 NHL games under his belt, he's physical, has played tough minutes, and kills penalties.  Coburn has suffered through two bizarre injuries, a lacerated buttocks artery and a laceration to the face that required 50 stitches to close.  In spite of both injuries, he's been very durable - he's missed on 13 games in the last three years.  Coburn's underlying stats are below:


Braydon Coburn

#5 / Defenseman / Philadelphia Flyers

6-5

220

Feb 27, 1985

Salary:  $1,300,000

Contract Status:  RFA



GP G A P EV +/- EV +/- 60 EV Rk QC Rk
QT Rk
Corsi RK
ZS Rk
Hits
2007 - Braydon Coburn
78 9 27 36 18 .89 1/7 2/7 4/7 1/7 4/7 79
2008 - Braydon Coburn 80 7 21 28
7
.09 5/5 2/5 2/5 5/5 8/12 146
2009 - Braydon Coburn 75 5 13 18 -6 -.25 4/7 5/7 5/7 2/7 3/7 102

 

Two years ago, Coburn teamed with both Derian Hatcher and sometimes Kimmo Timonen to form a top-pairing that took on the tough minutes night in and night out, and the did it successfully.  Last year, Coburn was paired with Matthew Carle, and though not as effective as the previous year, Coburn continued to outscore top line opponents.  This season has been a different story.  Coburn has played about half of his even strength minutes with Timonen and the rest has been split between the rest of the Flyers defensive corps.  Coburn's qualcomp has decreased and he's not coming out on top against second and third minutes.

Coburn's penalty killing effectiveness has bottomed out this year as well.  In 2007 and 2008, he was Phildelphia's most effective penalty killer.  This season, Coburn has been Philly's least effective penalty killer.

So if his game has fallen off so much, why should the Oilers target him?  He's proven he can play at a high level in the NHL before and he will likely do so again.  But targeting him now would be buying low - something that the Oilers rarely do - okay, never do.  Buying low should reduce his trade cost and his upcoming contract as well.

What would Coburn cost the OIlers?  Holmgren has indicated that he's got some people in his sights and they are already as good as gone.  Is Coburn one of them?  I doubt it.  He's still young, and has a wonderful pedigree, plus a couple of years of very good results.  But then again, Coburn is a restricted free agent this summer and Philadelphia might decide against paying Coburn, considering their cap situation and the falloff in his play.  I honestly have no idea what it would take to bring Coburn in.  A player in a similar range - Denis Grebeshkov - went for a second pick.  Coburn has a better history but he's coming off of a down year.  I wonder if we could reach a consensus in the comments.

Once the Oilers have Coburn in the fold, how much is his RFA contract going to cost?  When Bruce and Jonathan argued the arbitration case of Denis Grebeshkov, they turned up a number of comparable contracts for Coburn.  

Player

Term

Average Salary ($MM)

Cam Barker

4 years

3.438

Matt Carle

4 years

3.550

Alexander Edler

4 years

3.250

Christian Ehrhoff

4 years

3.500

Tobias Enstrom

4 years

3.750

Tom Gilbert

6 years

4.000

Andrej Meszaros

3 years

3.500

Joni Pitkanen

3 years

4.000

Ryan Suter

5 years

4.200

Dennis Wideman

4 years

3.875

Average

4.1 yrs

3.706

 

Toss in Kris Letang's new $3.5 million per year contract and I think that Coburn's deal might come in just around that average - 4 years, $3,750,000 per season.  Bringing Coburn aboard would mean that Sheldon Souray can be dealt away and that rugged defenseman is still on the team and now in the correct age group.  A core group of Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Braydon Coburn, Ladislav Smid and a couple of cheap veterans is a perfect foundation to build on for the next four years.

 

UPDATE:  From Broad Street Hockey comes this bit of news:

Now, on to Coburn. Fish is reporting that the Flyers defenseman "directed his agent" to defer contract talks until the end of the season. He's a restricted free agent following this season and Flyers reportedly offered him a contract.

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