|2009 - Braydon Coburn||81||5||14||19||-6||54||1||118||109||21:08||122||4.1|
One of the many first-half goats was Braydon Coburn. It's not that he was terrible this year, it's just that he was noticeably bad. Whether it was scoring on his own goalie, getting spun like a turnstile, or ignoring Marco Sturm as he scores the game-winning goal, Coburn didn't have a great year.
But as I said in late December, Coburn wasn't as bad as a lot of people thought he was. Instead, almost all of his mistakes were highlight-reel mistakes that wound up behind the Flyers goalie. It's not that he made more mistakes, but he made more visible ones. It didn't help that he had his worst offensive season since coming to Philadelphia.
Looking at his regular season, there really isn't many redeeming qualities. The only one is that he led all Flyers defensemen with 118 hits. But by the time the playoffs rolled around, Coburn stepped up his game.
Just a hastily compiled chart to show how Coburn improved. He played an additional three and a half minutes of even-strength time per game, against much better competition, with a much lower zone start, and yet he gave up over half a goal less per game.
Again, Coburn isn't the offensive threat he once was - when he scored 36 points in 78 games during 07-08 - but his defensive performance in the playoffs is encouraging. (Even if he was officially a minus-2 in the playoffs. Yet another reason plus/minus isn't the end-all.)
There are three big problems with Coburn: 1) He had a terrible regular season making numerous mistakes that just looked awful; 2) He has three straight years of diminishing offensive numbers; and 3) This is two straight years of mediocre-to-bad regular season performance and good-to-great playoff performance.
First, he needs to cut down on the highlight reel gaffes. Yes, this is a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. Second, if he continues to see a decline in his offense, he needs to do more defensively; block shots, get takeaways, limit turnovers, and shut down top-lines. Lastly, play the first 82 games like you played the last 23. Is it a motivation issue, a comfort issue, an adrenaline issue? Not sure, but two years in a row is a trend. Fix it.
Obviously, some people will say he's overpaid at $3.2 mil per year for two years. I'm inclined to agree, but it's not so egregious that I'm going to raise a fuss over it. Really, in the context of Holmgren's other mistakes this year, this deal looks about right. Why Coburn only got two years yet they acquired Meszaros with 4 years left is probably a test for Coburn. Hopefully he steps up.