What's the chief concern for the Flyers this summer? If your answer is "improving the defense," congratulations! You watched a Flyers game last season! What position does Braydon Coburn play? Defense!
Let's think about this.
The Flyers have eight defensemen on the NHL roster right now, and they'll have nine if they re-sign pending RFA Erik Gustafsson. They'll have to cut back at the position because you can't carry nine friggin' defensemen.
But okay. If you're looking at the depth chart and you're trying to determine who goes from this bunch...
... who are you shipping off? Schenn and Timonen are staying. Streit just signed and is staying. Grossmann signed a new deal before last season, plus he has a slight no-trade clause, so he's probably staying. Bourdon is probably going to the AHL. Gervais is an inexpensive plug and a no-brainer as your seventh defenseman.
So, you're down to Coburn and Meszaros then. Coburn is a good defenseman who fills a much-needed slot on the Flyers' top-four. Meszaros is nice, but he's never been above Coburn on the depth chart and he's been injured a lot lately, too. Meszaros has nearly always been a third-pairing guy in Philly. From a hockey perspective, valuing Meszaros more than Coburn is pretty nuts.
If you're doing this for salary cap purposes, Coburn earns just $500,000 more against the cap per season than Meszaros. Mesz only has one year left on his deal, but the cap is likely going up big time for 2014-15, so it's not like the extra two years on Coburn's deal will hurt the Flyers. The Flyers do not have somebody who can replace Braydon Coburn if they trade him away. It will make the defense that they just sorta kinda fixed with Mark Streit a weak unit once again. Flip the coin: Can you say the same if they trade away Meszaros?
Dreger reports that they'd likely use the trade to fill the hole up front left by Danny Briere's buyout. They can replace Danny Briere relatively easily on the free agency market, but it would be a lot harder to replace a top-four defenseman like Coburn.
Trading him makes no sense unless you're getting some massive return for him, because otherwise, there are other less-valuable parts you can trade away for basically the same gain.