Bruins To Try Colborne At Wing

(above) Former DU star Joe Colborne's best shot of making the Boston Bruins will be to play wing


by Fluto Shinzawa

Joe Colborne’s natural position is center. But if the Bruins approach their 2008 first-round selection and ask him to strap on the pads, the 20-year-old won’t hesitate to inquire about goaltending gear.

“If the Bruins told me they wanted me to play goalie to be on the Bruins,’’ Colborne said with a smile yesterday, “I’d do that.’’

Colborne, who has played center most of his life, stands a good chance of starting his first full season as a pro — he appeared in six games for Providence at the end of 2009-10 — on the wing.

“Without a doubt, this year, playing wing was huge for me,’’ said Colborne, who was a right wing for most of his sophomore season at the University of Denver. “Everyone knows the Bruins have 17 good centermen right now. It’s a definite plus to have the ability to play the wing. If that’s my way to get onto the Bruins, that’s my goal — to play in the NHL and compete. If they’re missing some wingers, I’d jump at the opportunity.’’

Colborne was referring to the traffic jam at center ice, where David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Marc Savard, and Gregory Campbell are ahead of him on the depth chart. Although Tyler Seguin also could start on the wing, the No. 2 overall draft pick is a natural center. The Bruins are still considering a Savard trade, which would open up one slot, but Colborne still could find himself on the right side because of his size and skill.

Colborne was considered a project when the Bruins selected him with the 16th overall pick in ’08. He was barely tipping past the 200-pound mark. Instead of going the traditional major junior route, the Calgary native had committed to the University of Denver, citing the practice schedule and the ability to grow into his frame. As a freshman, Colborne had 10 goals and 21 assists in 40 games. This past season, he recorded 22 goals and 19 assists.

Colborne signed his three-year, entry-level deal ($875,000 annual base salary, $1.1 million cap hit including bonuses) on March 31. He made his pro debut two days later and had two assists in a 3-1 Providence win over Worcester. Colborne centered Max Sauve during the game.

“They came in that first night, both him and Maxie, and they played very well. Real exciting game,’’ said Providence coach Rob Murray. “We played Worcester on a Friday night. Things happened a lot quicker for him. The pace of the game has to improve. He probably has to pick up his pace.

“If you want to use a comparison — and it’s not a true comparison — but David Krejci, when he was with us originally, one of the things we had to do with David was to get him to pick up the pace of his game. He’d get the puck and slow it down. It’s something that he’s developed very well through the years. That’s one thing we’ve talked about with Joe. He understands it. Having the opportunity to come in and play the games that he did, it’s not, ‘Oh, what’s this going to be like?’ I know what this is going to be like.’’

Yesterday, Colborne kicked off his third development camp. Before arriving in Boston, Colborne asked assistant general manager Don Sweeney if he could contact some first-time campers to provide some insight on the week. Sweeney was glad to provide Colborne with the phone numbers he requested.

“He’s got a real nice foundation and a base going,’’ Sweeney said. “He continues to get better and stronger. Now we’re going to give him an 80-game schedule, be it at the NHL level or the AHL level. That will be a good challenge.’’

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is he crying blood? Call Sookie.