26-Year-Old Center – Calgary Flames
Joe Colborne Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $2.55 million contract extension with Calgary in July of 2014.
Colborne (undisclosed) will return to the lineup Wednesday against Carolina, Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald reports.
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Joe Colborne: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After toiling in the minors for three years, Colborne received his first shot at a full NHL season in 2013-14 and had 28 points in 80 games. He was rewarded with a two-year contract for his efforts and while he's not a huge fantasy contributor, he could be a top-six forward when the 2014-15 season rolls around.
Colborne earned the nickname Little Joe when he went into the Bruins' system because their fans wanted him to be the next Joe Thornton. No chance. He's decent enough, but the clock is ticking on this gentle, playmaking giant. Yes, he's only 23, but he has just 16 NHL games under his belt. That pales in comparison to fellow 2008 first rounders like Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Eberle, Erik Karlsson and even Cody Hodgson. He inked a one-year deal with the Leafs this offseason and he'll be lucky to earn a third-line gig this season. He probably won't be worth your while unless you're in the deepest and largest of leagues.
Colborne's immediate future -- at least with the Buds -- lies on the wing. He's a natural center, but that spot is crowded in Toronto. So he'll battle in camp with Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin for a job on the third line. His theoretical upside remains high -- there aren't many 6-5 centers with hands like his. But he still has some growing to do as a player. He remains a keeper option, but he won't bring value in single-year formats. Expect him to start the season with the Marlies.
Little Joe is a big man blessed with extraordinary hands, deceptive speed and high hockey IQ. Trouble is, he's also been lumped into that 'unengaged' big man category -- why is it that big guys often seem like they're dogging it when they're not? He's working on his two-way skills and he's growing into a top-six future. He should start the season in the AHL but the Buds could keep him up. He won't contribute much in single-year leagues but his keeper value is strong. He's not only huge but he can play both wing and center, and could end up on the top line in three or four years. Not a bad keeper at all.
Colborne, whose natural position is center, is poised to start his first full season as a pro as a wing. The Bruins are deep at center, so in terms of team needs and for Colborne to get on the fast track to the NHL, him playing on the wing makes a ton of sense. To that end, he played most of his sophomore season at the University of Denver and in six games for AHL Providence at the end of 2009-10, on the wing. Colborne, who weighed 190 pounds when he was drafted, has gotten bigger -- he's up to 6-5/215 -- and has improved his skating since then, which has helped him add some physicality to his game. He's no slouch with the puck and while Colborne isn't expected to crack the Bruins' roster to start the 2010-11 season, he could buck the odds and stick, as Blake Wheeler did a couple of years back.
The Bruins’ 2008 first-rounder had a successful freshman year at the University of Denver this past season, playing in all 40 games and racking up 10 goals and 21 assists. Colborne, who now checks in at 6-6, 206, has excellent skills for a big man, with the knock on him being that he is more of a perimeter player that shies away from contact. He still needs some time to develop, but comparisons to Joe Thornton are not completely unfounded.