It was no secret the Colorado Avalanche and their fans enjoyed what Shawn Matthias brought to the table after he was acquired in a deadline trade. So, when Matthias signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets early Friday, it wasn’t hard to predict the Avalanche would attempt to sign another similar type of player.
Lo and behold! Joe Sakic and his staff opened up Stan Kroenke’s pocketbook and signed Joe Colborne for two years at $2.5M per season.
The 6’5" 221lb, 26-year-old forward spent the past three seasons with his hometown Calgary Flames, playing in 217 games and racking up 100 points. He had the best season of his professional career, scoring 19 goals and 25 assists in 73 games.
Colborne was originally a 16th overall draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2008, but was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs before ever putting on a black and gold jersey. There he spent much of his time with the AHL Toronto Marlies, playing only 16 games over three seasons for big club, notching six points, before being dealt to the Flames for a 4th Round pick.
Prior to his professional career, Colborne played two seasons for the University of Denver, where he played with fellow Avalanche free agent signee, defenseman Patrick Wierchioch. In 2009-10, the two helped lead DU to the best regular season record in the WCHA.
What the Avalanche just acquired
Talented but underachieving center who relies too much on stick work for his size? Or is he a late-blooming playmaker who can really dish the puck to skilled players like Johnny Gaudreau? Like nearly every other hockey player, he generally falls somewhere in the middle of everyone’s expectations. But let’s compare him directly to the player a lot of us wished the team could re-sign, Shawn Matthias:
Though not the same kind of goal scorer, the Avalanche are getting a player who makes quite a few more plays passing the puck and produces points like a second liner. The team is also getting a player with a greater track record for suppressing shots, a quality Colorado can’t use enough of. Colborne is also two years younger, just had the best season of his professional career, and signed for just $125k more than Matthias did in the ‘Peg. Something tells me this was a direction the team may have wished to go in anyway.