Leafs Trade Joe Colborne to Flames

Joe Colborne is going home. 

The six-foot-five Calgary, Alberta native has been traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Calgary Flames for a 4th round pick in 2014. A former 1st rounder, Colborne couldn’t quite nail down a roster spot during the Leafs’ preseason.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

At first glance, it’s a head scratcher. Colborne was one of the key pieces in the Toronto-Boston trade that sent Tomas Kaberle to the Bruins, and put up some solid numbers in the AHL, while looking a little out of place in the NHL. Regardless, to give up on a young center with size and offensive upside, on a $600K, one year contract no less, is nothing short of confusing.

In 211 AHL games split between Providence and Toronto, Colborne scored 50 goals and 125 points. In 16 NHL games, only one goal and five assists. Still, Colborne ranked #2 on The Leafs Nation’s Top Twenty Leafs Prospects feature that ran earlier this month.

No matter which way you look at it, this is a big win for Calgary. It’s entirely possible Colborne could top out as a middling professional hockey player, but the likelihood of him being worse than who would have been Calgary’s 4th round pick in 2014 is slim.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Leafs get a mid-round pick and a little bit of cap relief.

The Flames move futures for a still young, NHL-ready player. Welcome to Brian Burke’s accelerated rebuild, Calgary.


The pick is a conditional 4th rounder… 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • everton fc

    Colborne and Knight had very similar numbers in the NCAA. I’ve not been as high on Knight as many here. I see no real difference between Knight and Colborne. Generally speaking.


    I wonder what this means for Bouma and Horak. If Bouma can play from the right side, that might be an interesting, potentially productive 4th line.

  • Colin.S

    This is the new reality in the lower Salary Cap world. I won’t lose sleep even if we give up a 3rd rounder.

    I am just glad we didn’t take Lile’s salary to boot.

  • Deaner_

    I wonder if Burkie and Joe’s agent are buds, perhaps he could have suggested if Colborne had a sub par preseason that he could make it worth his while in cowtown….Regardless it’s a clear win for the Flames.

  • Deaner_

    Also, what does this mean for the Horak’s and Rienhart’s of the world, let alone Knight. How does Bill Arnold see things shaping up coming out of College this season?

  • aloudoun

    Nothing wrong with this trade.

    And for those saying that it creates problems for the other centres in our system. Tough beans.
    I would way rather have a glut of centres all vying for a spot than having to use a centre that isn’t ready because we have no one else. If you want to play in the NHL and on the Flames then you have to earn it. It isnt given out.
    Centre depth is something Calgary has been lacking for a long time.

    For the first time in a long time I am cautiously optimistic that the Flames are building a team right. *knock on wood.

    • Deaner_

      Agreed, I’m thinking more about a situation like Arnold’s, where he could walk and leave us with nothing, does this make a guy like that a tradable asset with so many 3-4 line potential centres.

    • Jeremy Ian

      And we saw in preseason how Hartley seems to have no problem playing Reinhart Knight etc.. on the wing…. no I do not think too much Center depth is a concern for us at all? lol

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Exactly. The other benefit from having too many centers on the team is that the Flames may have young talent to trade now. This might serve to set up another cap relief trade to a team that needs to give up a quality RFA and wants a quality prospect in return.

  • beloch

    After reading a little more, specifically [1], it sounds like Colborne might bit a bit of a project player. He’s received some injuries and might be afraid to get into the dirty areas now. Obviously, it didn’t look like he was going to make the Leafs out of camp, which is why it was trade him or watch him go for nothing on waivers. Speaking of which, my understanding is that the Flames are now in the same position as the Leafs were. Whether he’s ready or not, Colborne is on the team. There’s no way to send him to Abby if he sucks balls.

    At least one fan over in Leafdom speculates that Colborne could make a good winger if converted. If he stinks up center-ice on the fourth line that might be the next thing to try. Unfortunately, he shoots left and it’s the right flank that’s a barren wasteland at the moment.

    The Flames really should look at converting a center or two to right wing. Monahan and Reinhart also shoot left, but Corban Knight shoots right, so he might be worth trying out as a RW if Colborne just bumped him out of 4C.

    [1] http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/09/29/joe-colborne-traded-to-calgary-flames-for-4th-round-pick/

    • Jeff Lebowski

      I am from Leafdom and I agree, Joe might benefit from time on the wing. For 2 games in the playoffs last yr, he looked good. He took the body and was rarely out of position. There is less ground to cover at the wing so starting him off there wouldn’t be a bad idea. Just giving him 40 games or so at the NHL level to let him play and make mistakes, and grow. He could be a hellofa player for you Calgary, Im all for helping you out with the flood, but this is taking it too far.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Good trade for all sides, but better for Calgary. Colborne was not breaking into the Leaf ranks this year, so he needs a restart. Calgary gets his potential; but that potential now has a shorter and shorter fuse. Leafs have to figure out what to do with the 4th line.

  • seve927

    For a team void of big centers this looks like a good move. I wonder why Eakin’s in Edmonton was not all over this as he would know him from the Marlies; with the injuries at center it would have made sense for them.

    I wonder how this went down between Feaster and Burke? Did Jay go to Feaster for insight or did Burke go to Feaster with a suggestion. While some may not think this matters it does in understanding the dynamics in the front office.

    Who on the roster does this impact the most; I would suggest Horak at this point as I would see him being sent down. I have read on other sites that it probably means Monahan will be sent down but they seem to bring different skill sets.

    It will be interesting to see the new lines and how the coaching staff utilizes what they have. Again I’m hoping for them to roll 4 lines. I’m still excited to watch the development of the young guys and now we have a new one to watch. Good luck to him and all the young kids; remember you are expected to compete each and every shift.

  • RedMan

    the Flames though are in the same boat as the Leafs… leave him on the team or risk him on the waivers… technically this is a good deal for the Flames… but at his age I would have liked to see more promise from him… I don’t have high hope personally

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    He might have been had for free. He was probably going to be put on waivers. A 4th sounds like its a bit expensive for someone who is already on his third team. This was a great trade for Toronto. I hope he pans out for you guys. Im hoping we get some similar but less expensive news ourselves.

  • MattyFranchise

    “As an organization we have had many discussions this past year about Joe, but never made an offer,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement. “With the opportunity to speak with Brian Burke 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 which we believe is critical going forward. The fact that he is from Calgary is an added bonus. We look forward to welcoming him to the Flames family.”

  • MonsterPod

    Love this. Elliot Friedman was speculating we may get Colborne if we swallowed Liles first. To get him for a 4th is stellar. Way to go Burkie! I mean, “Feaster”.

    • No one has loyalty these days. Gone are the times of loyalty to your team and dedication to kicking the crap out of Oilers on a nightly basis. Now it’s all hired guns and guys playing for a pay check. Different business.

      That said, it’s not a bad choice, but I think Hall would have been better. Ference hasn’t played anything near a full season since 05/06 and doesn’t average more than 12.5 points a season. He’d better be a hell of a locker room guy or that will help sour Hall on the Oilers long term. Hall is the future of this team and while he hasn’t quite shown leadership, just giving it to the oldest dude in the room is not always the best idea.

      Especially one who played for the Flames.

      • RexLibris

        Ference has earned a Captaincy with his play, demeanour and experience. He has embraced the city (his native one, mind you) more quickly than some previous captains, so the call was the right one.

        As for souring Hall for the long-term, he’s signed to a seven-year deal. That is just about as long-term as one can get these days. The only question is how long does Ference hold on to the captaincy before it goes to Hall, not whether Hall leaves because of it – that is a non-starter.

        With regards to loyalty though, I was just remarking that it is interesting how things can work in the long run. Ference left Calgary a long time ago. He’s arguably more of a Bruins’ than a Flames alumni now.

        And remember, Steve Smith and Grant Fuhr both spent time in Flames’ colours at the end of their careers. Loyalty hasn’t eroded over the years, it was never more than a transitory state to begin with.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Elliot Friedman was on the Fan 960 talking about Colbourne a couple days ago and he said that he thought Colbourne could be ready to be a 2nd line C, but that he was never going to get that opportunity in Toronto. Will the Flames give him that opportunity? They sure could…

    But for all the people who wanted to see Monahan go back to junior, I think the chances just went up.

    I saw Colbourne play yesterday, and he looked OK-to-pretty-good, not a perimeter player, going to the front of the net, winning faceoffs – maybe a little nervous (but, in retrospect, clearly he had reason to be nervous).

    Friedman talked about a failed wrist surgery 2 years ago that seriously damaged Colbourne’s ability to score. But he said that this spring the wrist just clicked back into place and Colbourne started to score just before the AHL playoffs…

    This guy’s an inch and a half shorter than Keenan Kanzig and he can really skate.

    Surely this is a good thing.

    • seve927

      That’s an encouraging report. My expectations have been raised a little. My problem is if he can’t play defense, and really hasn’t shown any offense outside of brief flashes, what reason is there for optimism. If his wrist injury is truly behind him, there’s my answer.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Is this finally a reward for us sticking them with an overpaid, poor defensive 6.5 million dollar d’man? Where starting to see some return. Can’t wait to see matty go for a combo of picks at the deadline.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    There are some interesting points of view from Leaf fans (Colborne may have underwhelmed).

    A new environment sounds almost cliche and hard to use as justification for dealing for a guy but you just see it over and over when guys move to different spots.

    If, as they say, Colborne had to outplay the top 6, perhaps he felt like they already pigeoned holed him and they guys above him. Not true competition. Minds made up etc etc.

    Calgary seems to taking the philosophy of: “Show us”.

    Instead of labelling their players, you play PP, 3W etc they just let the guys determine it on ice. That means you put different guys in the situations and see who does it best. They don’t do it at NHL level because its a specialized league.

    Anyway, it is a gamble with Joe. Hopefully he makes the most of the opportunity.