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Braydon Coburn traded by Flyers: Ron Hextall gets solid return for his best defenseman

So long, Braydon Coburn. The Flyers longest-tenured player has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the return is pretty dang good.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While you were sleeping, Ron Hextall started off the 2015 NHL trade deadline with a huge bang, sending the Philadelphia Flyers' longest-tenured player, Braydon Coburn, to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for two draft picks and defenseman Radko Gudas.

This was rumored for a while, and seemed like a guarantee after Coburn's frequent, long-time defensive partner, Kimmo Timonen, was shipped out to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

Here's everything you need to know about the trade.

What's the deal with the draft picks?

The first round pick is Tampa Bay's selection in the 2015 draft, which means it likely will be late in the round. That's fine. It's a first round selection in what many draft pundits have called a deep draft, and that's great news.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the first pick is protected, but only in the extremely unlikely event that the Lightning both miss the playoffs AND win the 2015 draft lottery, landing the top overall pick. (Think of it as McDavid Protection.) Tampa Bay are 13 points clear of the final wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with just 18 games left in the season.

If somehow they did fall to the first overall selection, the Flyers would get the New York Rangers' first round pick, which the Lightning grabbed in a previous trade.

The third round pick is Tampa's selection in 2015 as well.

Is this fair return for Coburn?

It is. Many Flyers fans hate (hate!) Coburn, and if you want to realize how deep that hate runs, go read the Facebook comments on this post or any other Coburn-related discussion. People think he's a turnover machine, a liability in his own end, and flat out bad at his job.

(Ironically, this is how many also felt about one of his former teammates, defenseman Matt Carle, who Coburn will be reunited with in Tampa Bay. The hatred probably comes from the same place: as a tough-minute defenseman, we see a lot of Coburn, as we did with Carle, and when you see more of a player who's tasked with going head-to-head against the other team's best players, you're likely to notice more of those mistakes. These guys are also routinely going to lead the team in stats like turnovers, because they're on the ice more and they're playing against very good opposition.)

But Coburn is quite good, and he gives the Lightning a great little boost as they head into the playoffs this season. They're looking like a real contender -- maybe the front runner? -- in the East after this deal.

That is a good blueline that should make just about everybody in the Delaware Valley extremely jealous.

Did the Flyers retain any salary in this trade?

Not sure. There were talks of it, but no official confirmation on it from anybody who was awake at 3 a.m. when this thing broke. This will hopefully clear itself up early this morning.

Update: nope!

Who is Radko Gudas?

Gudas is a 24 year old defenseman who is currently out for the 2014-15 season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He's signed through the 2015-16 season at a salary cap number of just $992,000. So that's good.

Gudas is a penalty machine -- 224 PIM in 126 NHL games, and 567 PIM in 206 AHL games -- and his stats are kind of a mixed bag. We'll have much more on Gudas later today, but he has been used in a top-four role by the Lightning before, although his stats are kind of a mixed bag -- generates a lot of shots, but downright awful at suppressing opposing shots.

Lightning fans like Gudas a lot, and he definitely has some skill so he's not just a straight up pest, but he also has a tendency to go off the handle a little bit and play a little too physical at times. He was the 66th overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 2010 draft, and he played three games for the Czech Republic in the 2014 Olympics.

You can follow him on Twitter at @radkogudas.

Where does this leave the Flyers defense?

We'll answer this question after 3 p.m. today, because our feeling is that Ron Hextall is not quite done.