On a Senators’ day off from training camp, Braydon Coburn and Cedric Paquette took their first twirls on Canadian Tire Centre ice since being acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning December 27.
The pair were dealt to Ottawa along with a 2022 second-round pick for injured Senators, forward Marian Gaborik, and netminder Anders Nilsson. The former Senators are being placed on Long Term Injured Reserve and will not play this season.
Neither Coburn nor Paquette were totally surprised by being dealt one week prior to the opening of Lightning camp. Both players knew moves were coming in order to free up much need cap space for the club.
“I knew starting the offseason someone would move. I didn’t know who and when. I kind of forgot about it for a little bit. Obviously, between Christmas and New Year, I didn’t expect it, but I’m happy to be here,” said Paquette via Zoom media availability Monday.
Coburn’s case was a little bit different. The 35-year old defenseman had to waive a no-trade-clause in his contract to facilitate the move.
“There was no secret in Tampa we were facing a cap crunch, and there was a lot of different scenarios being played out there. With (Nikita) Kucherov going on Long Term IR, it looked like there was going to be a little bit of relief there, but I think they still had a need to have more guys that had to get moved. For me, it was a little bit of a surprise, not a total surprise. I think that everyone had their eyes wide open about the situation. But I was very open to coming here. I’m really excited about joining the team, having the opportunity to do that,” explained Coburn.
Heading into his 16th NHL season, Coburn told Full Press NHL, “”I was excited about it. I know me and my family… we talked a lot about it. I got a chance to talk to Pierre (Dorion) and D.J. (Smith) on just what they are kind of building here, the kind of coach D.J. is. Having talked to those guys, it was something I was really excited about it. It’s a great opportunity.”
Born in Gaspe, Quebec, and having played his junior hockey with Blainville-Boisbriand in the Quebec League, Paquette stated he was “happy to play in Canada.”
Heading into the final year of his contract, the 27-year old is slated to fill an identical role featured with the Lightning.
“I think obviously, it’s a young team, comprising a lot of prospects. They’ve got some good players and veterans. It’s a good mix. I think my role is bringing experience, leadership, maybe a little physicality. That’s how I play. I don’t want to change my game. We’ll see what they ask from me, but that’s how I see it,” noted Paquette Monday.
Paquette is known league-wide as a pesky forward. The Centre/Left Wing won’t wow you with offense, though he has the ability to chip in the odd goal, (seven in 61 games last season, an NHL career-high 13 in 2018-19), but he’s capable of being a key player on the penalty kill unit while keeping opposing players with his grinding, physical play.
Knowing he had more control over the trade, Coburn expressed his desire to play for the Senators.
“There’s a lot to like about this team. There’s a lot of young guys. There’s a lot of guys that are hungry, really want to make a name for themselves in this league. I think that it’s a competitive bunch. It’s a good group to fit into. For me, I just want to work as hard as I can, push the competition, and do as much as I can as well,” added the Calgary born, Saskatchewan raised defender. “I think you look for opportunity wherever you can find it. I’ll bring my game here and really try to bring as much as I can to the team.”
“I think it’s exciting anytime you can join a team that has bright future ahead of them. I’ve been lucky to play on some really excellent teams. We had a great team when I was in Philly and a really good team the last few years in Tampa. I’m excited to be part of this team as they grow. I’ve played with some really good players. I played with (Victor) Hedman the last few years. He’s obviously one of the best defenseman in the world. I was a long-time partner with Kimmo Timonen in Philly, Chris Pronger, Derian Hatcher and these guys. I don’t know a whole lot of the guys here, but I look forward to implanting any wisdom that I can, but also learning a lot. Older players can learn a lot from younger players sometimes, and I think it’s a mutual relationship. It’s something I really want to embrace.”
While Coburn is admittedly attempting to figure out who’s who, he can’t wait to for the games to start and look forward to a nine-time Battle of Ontario.
“It’s been a little bit different. It’s been a little hard to introduce yourself. I find myself joking, if I introduce myself to the same guy a couple of times just with the masks, I’m trying to figure out who’s faces matches up with what name. Give it some time here, it’ll keep growing with the team, and we’ll figure it out soon.”
“I love rivalries. Those games, they keep the emotions, everything gets ramped up a bit. But when there’s a team and rivalry like that, it’s something that’s really special. It’s fun to be a part of.”