Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Joe Colborne: Rising to the Challenge

Apart from the Marlies' stellar Calder Cup run, Leaf fans had little to be proud of following a dismal 2011-2012 campaign. Then came the lockout and without NHL hockey, much attention was paid to the performance of the Leafs' young prospects on the Marlies roster such as Gardiner, Kadri, Colborne, and Scrivens.

After all, these were the players many believed, or hoped, would challenge for roster spots under coach Randy Carlyle. Kadri (27GP 8G 18A), Gardiner (22GP 9G 8A), and Scrivens (2.22 GAA .917 SV%) have performed up to expectations. Colborne, on the other hand, struggled early on, recording a mere 6 points (16GP 1G 5A) in his first 16 games.

Joe Colborne working the powerplay - Marlies v. Bulldogs (1/2/13)
Photo courtesy of bchan53 (http://flic.kr/p/dJMvim)

As of late, the Calgary, Alberta native has rediscovered his scoring touch - scoring 13 points in the past 17 games, and has exploded for 9 points in 5 games since the start of the new year. Anyone who followed the Marlies last year is well aware of Colborne's offensive talent and with the high likelihood of Frattin, Kadri, and Gardiner joining the big club, the former first-rounder will be relied upon to play a bigger offensive role with the Marlies.

With the gaze of the hockey world fixed squarely on training camps and the shortened 48-game season, the AHL will once again take a backseat to the NHL. However, the Marlies have delivered an outstanding season thus far and have given Toronto a reason to cheer. Be sure to add Colborne to the "watch-list" since not only is he a player that could prove consequential to the future success of the Leafs, but is also on pace to have his most productive month since he received the AHL Player of the Month award last season (October, 9GP 8G 8A).

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