Philadelphia Flyers’ general manger Paul Holmgren has a problem, and Braydon Coburn might be part of the solution. According to Capgeek.com, the Flyers are one of three teams in the NHL that are currently over the salary cap (Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins). $34,228,929 of the $69,153,522 ($2,053,522 over the cap according to Capgeek.com) is tied up in an underachieving, oft-injured defensive corps.
Holmgren has several options to alleviate the financial problem; however one of the more popular ones with Flyers’ fans is to unload the disappointing Coburn. Taken eighth overall in the 2003 NHL draft, the 28-year-old Calgary native was acquired from the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers at the 2007 trade deadline.
Coburn’s size, speed, and puck-handling ability had Flyers’ fans excited about the defenseman’s potential. The organization felt he could blossom into a perennial all-star, quarterbacking the team’s power-play and being a stalwart in front of their own net. Early indications were that ‘Coby’ might end up being a larger version of Flyer hall of famer Mark Howe.
Thus far, the 6’ 5”, 220 lb. defenseman has yet to live up to those lofty expectations. Coburn has never made an NHL all-star team, and in nearly six full seasons with the Flyers, his finest offensive output was in his first full season when he finished with 36 points. His point total has declined every season since except for 2011-12.
Signed to a four-year contract extension in November, 2011 worth a $4.5 million cap hit through the 2015-16 season, Coburn had his worst year as a Flyer in 2013. Playing in just 33 of the Flyers 48 games, he amassed only 5 points, but more importantly finished the shortened season with a dismal -10 plus/minus rating.
His penchant for turning the puck over in recent years has made him a target for unhappy Flyers fans. However, his age, experience, and skill-set still makes him very attractive to other NHL general managers. Rumors have circulated this off-season with potential deals for Coburn’s services that never were consummated. Both the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes were said to covet the big defenseman.
With aging defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Mark Streit, along with rehabbing Andrej Meszaros and Nicklas Grossman, it’s likely that Coburn will stay put in Philly for now, but don’t be surprised if he and his $4.5 million cap hit end up skating in a different NHL city this season.
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