The news of Tomas Kaberle’s exit, despite considerable advanced warning, set in as reality this afternoon and was immediately followed by a feeling of sadness as the Leafs bid adieu to their well-liked longest tenured member and remaining tie to prelockout playoff hockey in Toronto. A surprisingly handsome return of first round prospect Joe Colborne, Boston’s first round pick and a conditional pick that could end up as high as a second rounder has mixed the emotions with an excitement for a brighter future.
Burke‘s persistence since taking the reigns from interim-GM Cliff Fletcher in getting premium value for this asset seems to have paid dividends today. Offered merely a low first round pick by San Jose for Kaberle-plus over the summer when the no-trade clause wasn’t in play according to Darren Dreger, Burke has now picked up a prospect with top six potential, a first round selection and another pick to be determined for a quarter season of Kaberle. The centerpiece of course being 6’5 21-year-old forward Joe Colborne, former 16th overall pick in 2008 and currently of the Providence Bruins. Colborne was an asset Burke demanded and reportedly stood firm on in trade negotiations over another name discussed in Blake Wheeler, who ended up in Atlanta today:
Hearing #bruins have been talked into replacing Wheeler with Joe Colborne in the Kaberle trade, and that things may be moving now.
Head of amateur scouting Dave Morrison was able to answer a few questions over email about the newest Leaf:
AB: Was this a player you got a good feel for when scouting Tyler Bozak in Denver?
DM: Yes, we had also watched him in Camrose of the AJHL.
AB: What progress have you seen in Colborne’s game since his days in the AJHL?
DM: His two years in Denver was well spent. He continued to improve his overall game and gain strength. Have not seen him recently but from all accounts he has been progressing well. He is a big young man, takes time for them to reach physical maturity.
AB: And is that your take on the criticism that Colborne has the size but doesn’t use it? Do you see him as still learning how to take full advantage of it?
DM: I’ve never heard that criticism before. He is like any young player that has to learn what they can and can’t do at the pro level and being strong enough to find out is part of that. Most skill players use their body well to protect the puck or gain position but are not necessarily aggressive physically.
Reader Question: How is Colborne’s skating for a big guy and what do you project his ideal playing weight at?
DM: Joe is a good skater. Not sure what his ideal weight is as he has grown in the last few years. That is something he and our training/strength staff will figure out.
Reader Question: He’s on a 2 on 1… shoot or pass?
DM: Whatever the right decision is.
Reader Question: Does he have #1 center upside, or is the reasonable goal top six? A player comparison to a current NHLer?
DM: Do not like to compare, not fair to the player. Hopefully he’ll be top six.
Clayton Hansler will chime in later tonight with some Q&A with Joe Colborne himself, who is having a media availability after tonight’s Marlies – Bulldogs game.