by Shiv on 02/23/11 at 08:26 PM ET
Tomas Kaberle is gone.
And while much of Leaf Nation has celebrated his exit – an exit that deserved more gratitude from the City of Toronto – the elite blueliner was the only piece the Maple Leafs had that could potentially land a top line center in a trade.
Enter Joe Colborne.
Though the 1st and Conditional 2nd the Leafs acquired in the trade with the Boston Bruins are significant pieces as well, the assessment of their value is subject to what Brian Burke decides to do with them.
Colborne on the other hand, is a distinguishable asset.
The Center was drafted 16th Overall in 2008 following a 90 point campaign in the AJHL. He then took his services to the University of Denver where he totaled 72 points in 79 games. Given his success, he made the jump to the AHL early, playing for the Providence Bruins tallying 26 points in 55 games this season.
Scouting reports on Colborne specifically focus on his mobility, vision and skill despite his size. He stands 6’ 5” tall and 213 pounds heavy but has the hands of an elite goal scorer.
The knock on him is that he does not play a tough, physical game for a big man.
But with his size and skill, Colborne very much has the ability to play in a top-line role at the NHL level – think Vincent Lecavalier more than Ryan Getzlaf.
Colborne has some work to do before he makes the leap to the NHL though, just like Nazem Kadri. But while Kadri’s success at the NHL level relies more on skill, team play and positioning, Colborne’s depends heavily on his ability to use his size.
Thus far with the Marlies, he has done just that. In 2 games, Colborne has already tallied 3 goals as well as a dandy of a shootout goal (link below).
Brian Burke still has many moves lefts to make. Bringing in help on defense and trading Clark MacArthur could still happen before the trade deadline. Add to that the possible additions made at the draft this year and the battle for spots out of training camp will look a lot different than they do today.
But if Big Joe (sorry Thornton) can keep this up, he will definitely crack the Leafs’ lineup next season.
Kadri - Colborne - Kessel maybe? Jumping the gun like a true Leaf Fan as usual.
Go Leafs Go.
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