Monday, January 6, 2020

Braydon Coburn Jersey Card

I started this blog over a decade ago, and my 32nd post was about Braydon Coburn of the Atlanta Thrashers, so I thought it'd be nice to revisit his career.

The eighth-overall pick of the 2003 draft ranks 17th in games played for his draft class, is ninth in points by a defenseman (with 230) behind Brent Burns (20th overall, 682 points), Ryan Suter (7th overall, 575 points), Shea Weber (49th overall, 567 points), Dustin Byfuglien (245th overall, 525 points), Dion Phaneuf (9th overall, 494 points), Brent Seabrook (14th, 464), fellow Thrashers pick Tobias Enstrom (239th, 308 points) and future two-team teammate Matt Carle (47th, 283 points), and is fifth in penalty minutes at his position with 696, behind Phaneuf (1345), Byfuglien (1094), Shane O'Brien (250th overall, 916 PIMs) and Mark Stuart (21st overall, 722 penalty minutes). He's definitely had an impact, but if the draft had to be re-done, Phaneuf, Burns, Suter, Weber and Byfuglien would probably have been picked ahead of him, as would have forwards Ryan Getzlaf (19th), Patrice Bergeron (45th), Joe Pavelski (205th), Zach Parise (17th), Jeff Carter (11th) and possibly Corey Perry (28th) as well. The rest is pretty subjective.

Because whether or not one feels he was overpaid as a middle- or bottom-pairing defender with the Tampa Bay Lightning from the end of the 2014-15 season until signing a deal last summer that brings his cap hit down to a manageable $1.7M for this year and the next, he did get the job done against the middle and bottom of the line-ups of opposing teams (save for perhaps a more difficult 2016-17 season where he looked slower and over-matched), and he was without question one of the best defensemen on the Philadelphia Flyers - second only to Kimmo Timonen or Chris Pronger, depending on the season - from 2007 until 2014, save for an injury-riddled, lockout-shortened 2012-13.

That's not to say he'll join Pronger in the Hall of Fame some day, but he's far from the disaster many online commentators have made him out to be in the past five years. If the Bolts win the Cup in the next couple of seasons, he will have deserved to have his name engraved on it for all time with his colossal efforts in Philadelphia and Tampa.

Here he is wearing the Thrashers' blue (home) uniform on card #RT-BC from Upper Deck's 2005-06 Series 2 set and Rookie Threads sub-set:
It features a dark blue jersey swatch that was worn in a photo shoot. I kind of miss those jerseys now.

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