Entering the day, there were questions whether the Boston Bruins would trade up for the likes of Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty or Zach Bogosian. But the B's held onto their first-round pick and selected big forward Joe Colborne at No. 16 overall.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound center was coming off two seasons with the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Colborne enjoyed great success with the Kodiaks, posting 53 goals and 138 points in 108 games over two years. While Stamkos, Doughty, Bogosian and others in the draft's top 10 were more NHL-ready, Colborne made the move from 18-year-old draft pick to 18-year-old college freshman, enrolling at the University of Denver.
Fast forward a year, and the Calgary native quickly became a force in the college ranks. Colborne netted 10 goals and 31 points as a first-year player on the way to being named one of Denver's Most Valuable Freshmen and a member of the All-WCHA Rookie Team. As a sophomore, he led the Pioneers with 22 goals and finished tied for second on the squad with 41 points. When Denver's season ended March 26 against RIT in the East Regional semifinal of the NCAA Hockey Tournament, Colborne elected to turn pro.
On March 31, 2010, a new chapter began in Colborne's life. He signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins, followed shortly by an amateur tryout agreement with Providence. Now the 20-year-old, who's bulked up to 215 pounds, is finishing out the AHL season and getting a taste for the pro game.
"Expectations are very high," Providence coach Rob Murray said of Colborne. "He's a big guy, a guy that can dominate out there. He's going to get his feet wet at the American League level, and we'll see how he competes. I'm expecting good things from him."
With each passing day, the buzz grows a little bit louder.
"The similarity between Joe Colborne and Joe Thornton is the attraction, I believe," Murray said. "He's a very big man, he's a forward and he's a centerman. I think with that, and [with] fans, media, everyone looking for answers for the Boston Bruins … Joe's going to get a lot of attention and have a lot of expectations put on him. We'll see how he reacts to those expectations."
With three games under Colborne's professional belt, he’s helped the P-Bruins to the tune of two assists and, more importantly, two wins. But if you talk to Joe, he's more than a guy with soft hands, great size and the ability to find the open teammate or bury the puck. He's a young kid under immense pressure to succeed at the level of a former first overall pick, Joe Thornton, who now dominates the NHL for the San Jose Sharks, rather than the Boston Bruins.
Comparisons will linger between the Joes of Bruins' past and present for the foreseeable future, but this new arrival is Joe Colborne. He's already jumbo in size and hopes to deliver the same in performance. It's time to begin getting to know a new Joe — in his own words:
My name is Joe Colborne, and I recently signed a pro contract with the Boston Bruins. This past week, I have experienced the pro hockey life for the first time, including my first three pro games. I thought I'd write a few paragraphs on my background and what the last week has been like, so here goes:
I am originally from Calgary, Alberta, and grew up there for the majority of my childhood with three sisters and no brothers … yeah, I know, tough luck. But, seriously, they all play or have played at a very high level of basketball and may have the best athletic genes in the family. Melissa just finished her senior season at Yale University and she's the fifth-leading scorer in Bulldogs history. As for me, I played my junior hockey in Camrose, Alberta,, for the Camrose Kodiaks, where I was drafted by the Bruins. Then, I went on to the University of Denver for the past two years. Looking back, it may be the four best years of my life to date.
However, after the abrupt end of our DU season, my family and I sat down and decided that it was time to move on and start a career in pro hockey. Thankfully, the Bruins organization was willing to offer me a contract, and I jumped at the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream of playing pro hockey.
From the time I signed my contract to the time I arrived in Providence was an absolute whirlwind of nerves and excitement. I got into my first practice last Thursday [April 1] and felt like I couldn’'t do anything right, but the coaches and players have been awesome in making me and the other new guys feel welcome and a part of the family.
On a side note, I just want to apologize to a past Bruin, Joe Thornton, because I have unintentionally borrowed his nickname "Jumbo Joe." I know I have a long ways to go before I'll feel like I deserve to be called that, so sorry Joe.
Game day was a blur. We were playing Worcester — I'm still confused to why people go around calling it Wuuster — and I remember standing during the national anthem and barely able to remain still. However, my second shift out there, Max Sauve (also playing his first game) scored a great goal on the PP and I had my first pro point. It felt like 100 pounds had been lifted off my back. Getting the win that night and being the third star was a dream come true, and having my parents in the stands made it that much more special.
The next two games were eye-opening experiences for me. Manchester showed me just how hungry a team can be to win. We lost 3-0. And Portland was a huge comeback win for us in OT. Overall, a 2-1 record on my first weekend. Not bad, but lots of improvement for this weekend.
Thanks for reading,
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