DU Alum Joe Colborne Traded To Calgary Flames

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded center Joe Colborne to the Calgary Flames for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. That pick could become a third-rounder if Colborne scores 10 goals or reaches 35 points this season and the Flames make the playoffs.

Calgary's GM Jay Feaster said that the Flames had been watching Colborne (6-5, 23 years old) for a while and finally made an offer.

“As an organization we have had many discussions this past year about Joe, but never made an offer,” he said in a statement. “With the opportunity to speak with Brian Burke [Flames' director of hockey operations] and learn about Joe's hockey sense and character from someone who had him as a player and knows him so well, it became clear to us that this is the type of young, big center we need. He fits in very well with our rebuild and provides size up the middle.”

Burke, formerly the GM of the Leafs, was presumably intrigued by Colborne's combination of size and skill. Colborne, who has just 16 NHL appearances in his career, was fighting to make the Leafs' roster but is expected to see significant time with the rebuilding Flames.


Anonymous said...

Big Joe needs to step up his game if he wants to stick in the NHL.

Injuries and a lack of grit have hurt his NHL stock.

Anonymous said...

a 4th round pick doesn't say very much about Joe's rating.

dggoddard said...

Joe may have been 6'4 when he was at DU but he had the skinniest wrists & arms.

He was always going to be a long-term project, but Boston was in such a hurry to bring him along.

He's still only 23 and still might develop into an NHLer at say 26-28 years old.

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of a player who should've stayed in college. Wish younger skaters would take note of this and think a bit before bolting after one or two seasons

Ring_of_Fire said...

Yes...Colborne should have stayed in college for another year. Or two.

But, keep in mind, it's frequently not up to the player. Or his family. In fact, more often than not, the NHL team that drafts the player is the one calling the shots and the player has little say in the matter.

(Yes, I'm aware that since they haven't signed a contract, a college player TECHNICALLY has the ultimate say in whether he stays or goes, but when dealing with a pro sports team that's operating under the constraints of a collective bargaining system, it's never quite that simple...)


Since the NHL free agency age has declined from 31 to 27, teams have a strong monetary incentive to get their early draft picks into their systems as quickly as possible. Assuming the player blossoms into a full-time NHL calibre player, each year of control under a rookie contract by an NHL team means at least $250K of salary that the team won't have to pay to keep the player on their roster.

Put differently, for each year an NHL-level player stays in college, it will cost his drafting team at least $250,000; because each year spent playing somewhere other than in the NHL team's system is one year closer to having his contract value dictated by the open market, as opposed to the rookie contract ceiling.

Therefore, teams are forced to pluck the kids they think will crack the big club's line-up early, because losing those years of control is like giving away money.

With Colborne, the Bruins saw a kid with the size and skill to turn into a true power forward in the NHL; but they also saw a skinny kid that needed at least 30 lbs of muscle and a change in style of play to be successful. They had to choose whether to run that free agency clock down another year while allowing Colborne to continue to develop at DU; or pluck him early and see if he would take a giant step with his development by being in an NHL system. There really wasn't a downside to taking him early - if he didn't pan out for the Bruins, he could be released or traded. Which he was. And if he DID pan out, then the Bruins got another year of Colborne for cheap.

Unfortunately, the only way to fix this is to get the NHL to remove the age threshold at which a player becomes eligible for free agency and move to system based strictly on years of service. But, that'll never happen because the NHLPA won't allow it to.

As such, here we are.

Anonymous said...

Joe’s AHL salary is listed at $600,000 this year.

du78 said...

Joe is on a one-year, one-way contract in that he receives the $600,000 whether he is in the NHL or AHL. If he is sent to the AHL he must clear through waivers. If he is claimed on waivers, he becomes property of a new team. If he passes through waivers, he can be sent to the AHL.

vizoroo said...

Leafs thought Joe would be claimed on waivers and then they would get nothing--so a trade was good for them. Good Luck to Joe. Chris Butler is also on the Flames.