Braydon Coburn doesn’t want to be a “grumpy sourpuss” this time next year. He was very clear. The Lightning has some unfinished business and he wants to be a part of that.
The 34-year-old defenseman signed a deal to remain with Tampa Bay for two years, with an average annual value of $1.7 million.
It was his wife, Nadine, who called Coburn a sourpuss.
“‘You think you’re great. You’re in a great mood with the kids. As soon as 7:30 rolls around and the playoffs are on, you turn into a grumpy sourpuss,” Coburn recounted her saying.
“It’s not a fun feeling. It’s something we have to chew on. You take your lumps, you chew on them.”
The unfinished business wasn’t the first reason he listed for wanting to stay. The honor of being in this organization and Tampa being home for his family came first. Then came the kicker: The Lightning has an incredible team and some unfinished business.
“We had a lot of success in the regular season and came up very short during the playoffs,” Coburn said. “That kind of feeling motivates people. It motivates this team.”
The deal came together quickly. The period to talk with other teams before free agency opens hasn’t started yet, but Coburn was focused on the Lightning.
Julien BriseBois reached out late last week. Coburn thought about it over the weekend, then his agent and BriseBois spoke on Monday.
“This was 1A,” Coburn said.
What’s best for his family really did come first. His kids are in school here. Nadine loves Tampa. They have friends here. It’s truly home, not simply where they live in season. That lined up with the team he wanted to keep playing for.
Coburn, one of three veteran Lightning defensemen, would have become a free agent July 1. Dan Girardi (the only player older than Coburn) and Anton Strålman will still do so.
The Lightning was down to five defensemen without any of those three. The team already re-signed Jan Rutta and had Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Erik Černák and Mikhail Sergachev returning.
The team couldn’t afford to keep Coburn ($3.4M), Girardi ($3M) and Strålman ($4.5M) at what they made last year. So anyone who stayed would have to take a pay cut. Coburn proved willing.
This past season, Coburn posted some of the best numbers during his time with the Lightning, scoring four goals and 23 points in 74 games. He ranked third among defensemen in games played and fourth in points. Coburn also became part of the defenseman rotation when the Lightning had seven healthy blue liners and was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the playoffs.
The most important piece of the Lightning’s offseason remains resigning Brayden Point, who will be a restricted free agent as of July 1. Negotiations on that front are ongoing.
Contact Lightning beat reporter Diana C. Nearhos at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @dianacnearhos. Contact Mari Faiello at email@example.com. Follow @faiello_mari.