Paquette, Coburn traded to Senators by Lightning

Paquette scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 61 regular-season games, then helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup with three assists in 25 postseason games. A fourth-round pick (No. 101) by Tampa Bay at the 2012 NHL Draft, the 27-year-old center has scored 85 points (47 goals, 38 assists) in 377 regular-season games and 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 91 playoff games, all with the Lightning.

Paquette has one season remaining on the two-year contract he signed July 5, 2019, which has an average annual salary of $1.65 million.

Coburn scored four points (one goal, three assists) in 40 regular-season games and did not have a point in three postseason games with the Lightning last season. The 35-year-old defenseman has 232 points (49 goals, 183 assists) in 964 regular-season games and 32 points (three goals, 29 assists) in 137 playoff games with Atlanta Thrashers, Philadelphia Flyers and Lightning. Coburn was the No. 8 pick by Atlanta at the 2003 NHL Draft.

Coburn, who waived his no-trade clause, has one season remaining on the two-year contract he signed June 18, 2019. It has an average annual salary of $1.7 million.

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois told NHL.com they are under the NHL salary cap, which will remain $81.5 million for this season, following the trade. The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have reached an agreement to play a 56-game regular season starting Jan. 13, 2021, and ending May 8. The season has been delayed due to continuing concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

“Today’s trade, I guess from a cap standpoint, it’s a positive situation, but at the same time you’re unloading two players that helped us win the Stanley Cup and a second-round pick and you’re not getting anything in return other than a little cap space,” BriseBois said. “It’s not the type of deal under normal circumstances, non-pandemic circumstances, that you would see.”

Nilsson was 9-9-2 with a 3.18 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 20 games (19 starts) with the Senators last season. The 30-year-old goalie is 59-74-15 with a 3.06 GAA, a .907 save percentage and six shutouts in 161 games with the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Senators. He was a third-round pick (No. 62) by the Islanders at the 2009 NHL Draft.

Gaborik has not played since the 2017-18 season, when he scored seven points (four goals, three assists) in 16 games with the Senators. The 38-year-old forward has scored 815 points (407 goals, 408 assists) in 1,035 regular-season games and 58 points (32 goals, 26 assists) in 84 playoff games with the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Senators. He was the No. 3 pick at the 2000 NHL Draft by the Wild.The Lightning will be placing Nilsson and Gaborik on long-term injured reserve.

It was the second trade in two days for the Senators. Ottawa acquired center Derek Stepan from the Arizona Coyotes for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft on Saturday.

“We could have gotten cap compliant without doing today’s trade, but the way to get there would have meant to put some veteran players on waivers, send them down to our taxi squad or the minor leagues, whichever one, to get $1.075 [million] from their contract off the books,” BriseBois said. “I didn’t want to do that to them. I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Then you end up with guys that are unhappy and I can understand that because the guys want to play.

“This was a way for us to not be in a situation where we had to send players to the minors that shouldn’t be there. Them not being allowed to play or not being able to play because of cap reasons, that wouldn’t be good for anyone. It ends up costing us a second-round pick to do that. I think it was the right thing to do.”

BriseBois also confirmed forward Nikita Kucherov will have hip surgery Tuesday. Kucherov is out for the regular season and was placed on long-term injured reserve Dec. 23. The Lightning are hopeful he can return in time for the playoffs.