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Flyers trade Coburn to Tampa Bay

Braydon Coburn was sleeping.

At 6:30 am, his wife, Nadine, nudged him to check his phone. She was tending to their two-year-old son, Blair, but had a feeling something was up.

"I had a few missed calls and some texts already. That's kind of how I found out," Coburn said. "Things kind of materialize at the wee hours of the morning, I suppose."

His message to his three and a half year old daughter was: "We're moving a little closer to Disney World."

Coburn was dealt overnight to Tampa Bay in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas, a first-round pick and a third-round pick in this June's NHL draft.

There is a condition to the first-round pick: should the Lightning somehow miss the playoffs and win the draft lottery for No. 1 overall, the pick will transfer back to Tampa Bay and the Flyers will then hold the New York Rangers' first-round pick.

Claude Giroux is suddenly the Flyers' longes tenured-player. He is now the only player left from the Flyers' 2010 Stanley Cup final team, following the trades of Kimmo Timonen, Coburn, and previously Scott Hartnell.

Only six Philadelphia athletes - Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz, Trent Cole and Jon Dorenbos - had been in town longer than Coburn. He was acquired from Atlanta on Feb. 24, 2007, in exchange for Alexei Zhitnik. Coburn leaves the Flyers after playing the 7th-most games in franchise history (517) among defensemen.

Coburn held a limited no-trade clause, but Tampa Bay was apparently on the list of teams he'd accept a trade.

"It's Philadelphia, so there's always rumors," Coburn said on Rogers Sportsnet. "You put that stuff in the background and focus on hockey. I was a little surprised, though."

In return, the Flyers acquired one of just 25 first-round picks EVER traded in the 35 years of the NHL's actual trade deadline day since 1980. The Lightning were one of the few teams with an extra first-round pick also in need of defensive help.

Flyers GM Ron Hextall was always seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Coburn and held strong to get it.

The Flyers now have approximately 7 of the first 101 picks in June's draft (No. 11, 24, 51, 73, 84, 96, 101), largely considered one of the deepest drafts since 2003. They entered last week with just four of those picks (No. 11, 73, 96, 101). Those positions are dependent on the final standings and the draft lottery.

In addition to the draft picks and Gudas, the Flyers gained valuable salary cap flexibility by moving one of the six defensive contracts already signed for next season. That opens up room for prospects like Shayne Gostisbehere, Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg to legitimately make a push for a roster spot in training camp.

The Flyers now have approximately $61 million committed to next year's salary cap, which could be in the $71.7 million dollar range - or even a little lower.

Gudas, 24, is no throw-in to the deal. If ever one existed, the Czech-born defenseman is a prototypical Flyer, considering his physical approach to the game. He is one of the best open-ice hitters in the NHL. He was a teammate of Jake Voracek on the Czech Republic Olympic team in 2014 in Sochi. He was a third-round pick (66th overall) in 2010 by Tampa Bay.

"You love to play with him," Voracek said. "You hate to play against him."

Fans will have to wait a bit to see him. Gudas underwent right knee surgery in January and he is not expected to be ready until next season. His injury is one reason why Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman felt the need to acquire more help.

Gudas underwent arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 6 to repair damaged and torn cartilege. He was expected to miss four months, which would put a return in May. He could be skating with the Flyers in practice toward the end of the regular season.

Gudas is also an underrated player as a whole. He moves pretty well for a stocky defenseman and has a better-than-average stick. Gudas had a tremendous 2013-14 season, collecting 22 points in 73 games for Tampa Bay, and just four of those points came on the power play.

He isn't necessarily a a Top 4 defenseman right now, but the Flyers have now better slotted their defensemen in terms of salary. Gudas is a true third-pairing defenseman and will be paid as such, unlike some of the other players on the Flyers' roster. His salary cap hit is just $992,000 for next season, though his real salary is $1.4 million. After that, the Flyers will control his rights as a restricted free agent.

When reached by the Daily News on Monday, Gudas said he had not yet spoken to anyone from the Flyers' organization and wanted to hold off on commenting on the trade until he did.

Coburn, 29, provides a legitimate Stanley Cup contender with a solid puck-mover and a contract for next season ($4.5 million) that is already below market value. He will be reunited with former teammate Matt Carle.

Yzerman said last week: "There are deals you'd consider, 'Hey, I overpaid, but I had to do it.' I don't know that player is out there." Apparently, he found that player.

"It's been a little bit of a frustrating year personally," Coburn said. "I've broken my foot twice in the same year, so that's not really conducive to having a great year, but I think in the last week here, I've felt excellent. I'm looking forward to getting on the ice with Tampa Bay. I think we have a really great chance in the East. I'm just really excited, it should be a great opportunity playing."

On Twitter: @frank_seravalli