Nov 29, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wingBrett Connolly
(14) reacts against the Ottawa Senators during the third period at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Lightning made a pair of trades in the early hours of Monday as they look to shore up their roster for a deep playoff run.
The trade for Colburn has yet to be finalized meaning it’s unclear what year the draft picks involved are. He is under contract next season for $4.5 million.
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Tampa Bay had long been rumoured to be in the market for an experienced, stay at home defenceman and they appear to have him in Coburn.
The 30-year-old has appeared in 614 career NHL games registering 166 points (37 goals). In 39 games with the Flyers this year, Coburn has a goal and eight assists along with 16 penalty minutes. He also has 72 games of playoff experience.
Coburn will join a defence that includes Victor Hedman, Jason Garrison, Anton Stralman, Mark Barberio, Andrej Sustr and a returning Matt Carle. The team also has Nikita Nesterov and Luke Witkowski although neither appears to be contenders to play once the playoffs begin.
Nov 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defensemanBraydon Coburn
(5) during pre game warm ups before a game against the New York Rangers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Gudas, a third round draft pick in 2010, played in 31 games this year before his season came to an in January end due to right knee surgery. The rugged Czech native was known for his aggressive demeanour and checking ability, something the Lightning have missed since his injury and was a factor in their decision to make a move at the trade deadline.
As for Connolly, the Bolts have a great deal of depth up front which made the 22-year-old expendable.
The former sixth overall pick in 2010 has battled injuries and consistency early in his NHL career but it appeared he had finally found a role on the team this season as he had 12 goals in 50 games.
However, the chance to acquire additional draft picks seems to have been too good for Yzerman to pass on as Connolly’s production can easily be replaced.
J.T. Brown and Brenden Morrow, who have both been regular healthy scratches in recent weeks, figure to garner more playing time. The Bolts could also recall Vladislav Namestnikov or Jonathan Marchessault from Syracuse if needed.
The NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. Monday.