Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Maple Leafs Player Preview: Joe Colborne


The NHL Season is quickly approaching, with that in mind we’re going to take a look at who is (likely) to be on the Leafs roster come October 1 in Montreal. Contract numbers via CapGeek.com; Regular Stats via Hockey-reference.com; Nerd stats via behindthenet.ca. For the rest of our Player Previews go here.

Who:

Joe Colborne, No. 22, centre| 6’5″, 213 LBS | 23-years old.

ToT Approved Nicknames:

None

History:

16 GP over 3 seasons with the Maple Leafs; originally drafted 16th overall in 2008 by the Boston Bruins

Contract Status:

$600,000; RFA following this season

Career Stats:

16 GP 1 Goals 5 Assists 6 Points

2012/2013 Stats:

5 GP 0 Goals 0 Assists 0 Points

Nerd Stats

Too small of a sample size to bother

You Oughta Know:

Joe Colborne has an athletic family, his sister Melissa is a former basketball player for Yale University, while his other sister Claire was the CIS Rookie of the year in 2010-2011 while playing basketball for the University of New Brunswick.

Looking Back:

Joe Colborne was an exciting piece of the Maple Leafs future at one point, a big bodied, highly skilled former first round pick that came over from Boston in the Tomas Kaberle deal. Colborne was expected, along with Nazem Kadri, to be a staple down the middle for years to come in Toronto. It hasn’t exactly worked out as planned thus far for Colborne, he has struggled to assert him self in the AHL, having a couple of good but not great offensive years (never scoring 20 goals), which can be a death wish for  a prospect whose primary attribute is his scoring ability.

Fortunately for Colborne, he also happens to be 6’5″, and when you’re that big and have some skill, you have potential that NHL talent evaluators are loath to give up on. While Colborne has been reluctant to take advantage of his frame thus far in his professional career, Leafs brass are hoping the hulking centre realizes that it may be his best chance to make it in the NHL.

What to Expect:

Colborne is likely going to be on the Leafs roster coming October 1st whether his play merits it or not. As mentioned above, NHL evaluators foam at the mouth over guys that are 6’5″ and show the flashes of skill that Colborne has, and due to the fact that Colborne would need to be exposed to waivers in order to facilitate a trip to the AHL, it looks like he will be the 4th line centre/extra forward by default.

Playing 4th line minutes in the NHL as opposed to 1st line minutes in the AHL might be a blessing for Colborne, who is clearly not the offensive prospect that he was once thought to be. Playing in a 4th line role will force him to adapt his game, and perhaps finally realize the asset that is being a massive person playing hockey.

Colborne playing on the 4th line also gives the Leafs an option to internally fill top-6 forward minutes should the situation arise due to injury, Colborne still believes that he’s got the skill to be a scorer in this league, and if he were to somehow end up playing with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, I can’t imagine his numbers being all that worse than Tyler Bozak.

In all likelihood Colborne will spend much of the season playing on that 4th line, his minutes and effectiveness will greatly depend on who Randy Carlyle decides are going to join him. If he plays with both Fraser McLaren and Colton Orr, it’s going to be a long season for Colborne, if Carlyle decides to go with players that can actually play, Colborne could provide some pleasantly surprising value.

I’m going to be optimistic and say that Colborne learns to use his body effectively under the tutelage of David Clarkson, and  is good for 10 goals and 10 assists while playing in an ultra limited role on that 4th line.

Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs