Another offseason began officially early Saturday morning, and yes, that means it's time for Braydon Coburn trade rumors. Specifically, Braydon Coburn to Edmonton trade rumors, which you can pretty much set your watch by at this point.
From Marc Spector, speculating over at Sportsnet:
Watch for Edmonton to again approach Philadelphia in hopes of helping the Flyers alleviate their glut of salary on defence. MacTavish has liked Braydon Coburn for some time. The Flyers have nearly $27 million committed to six defencemen, the priciest blueline in hockey. If he can’t trade for what he wants, MacTavish will shop for a Ron Hainsey or Matt Niskanen on July 1, should the latter reach UFA status. Or perhaps take a flyer on a potential UFA like Andrej Meszaros or Matt Greene.
Yes, the Flyers spend a lot of money on their blueline, but the solution to that is to stop giving out shitty contracts to middle-pair caliber defensemen. It's not to trade the second best defenseman on your roster, one who's on one of the more team-friendly deals the Flyers have, at least in terms of those defensemen.
That's a provocative sentence around Philly these days -- that Coburn is the second best defenseman on the team. As we wrote in our review of Coburn, he and Kimmo Timonen are the only unit that really makes sense atop the Flyers blueline, and Coburn is without a doubt a better player than Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann and Luke Schenn.
Perhaps the best and easiest way to identify the quality of a defenseman and his value to the team is to look at how often he plays and in which situations he plays. Coburn plays in all situations and he plays more than any Flyer. He is good, even if you got really mad about that turnover he made on December 6 against Columbus or whatever.
Beyond that, though, we'll say to these rumors the same as we did last season: How would the Flyers replace Coburn, and what would they get back to make it worth it? Replacing Coburn with somebody who makes less than the $4.5 million against the salary cap that he does would be next to impossible, and Edmonton is interested in him because they don't have strong defensemen of their own.
Sure, they have plenty of young scorers that they could potentially give up in a Coburn trade, but that is just not what the Flyers need right now. Not to mention that nearly all of those young, talented forwards the Oilers have are very expensive at this stage. I mean, take a look here. Does anybody really interest you once you take their salary into account?
No, the Flyers need strong defensemen, and it simply doesn't make sense to give up one of your strongest, most affordable defensemen -- something you lack -- for another young center or winger -- something you have lots of and are known to be strong at developing in the minor leagues.
I just can't figure out where a Coburn-to-Edmonton trade makes sense. Maybe you can. Let us know in the comments if you can figure it out.