This morning forward Joe Colborne was recalled from the Toronto Marlies by the Toronto Maple Leafs as reported by Darren Dreger. Dreger followed up this by saying Frazer McLaren is out with the flu which is why Colborne has been called up. I really don’t think it is as simple as that. McLaren missed practice yesterday due to the flu, and when Ryan O’Byrne was acquired yesterday Ryan Hamilton was sent down to the Marlies. Why would they send down Hamilton if they knew McLaren was out with the flu? If they didn’t know, why not recall Hamilton today?
The answer Tyler Bozak. Now that the trade deadline has come and gone it is time for the Leafs to focus on signing or not signing their pending unrestricted free agents. The one that has garnered the most attention is Bozak. He has been playing first line center since last season and many are skeptical that he is truly meant for this role. One of the names floating around to take his place was Joe Colborne. I’m thinking calling up Colborne at this point in the season is an attempt to see how well he does in the big show.
If Colborne shines the Leafs will have a buffer if they choose not to re-sign Bozak and can’t find another center. If Colborne flops expect contract negotiations to start with Bozak for sure. Personally I don’t think Colborne is ready. He is a big guy in the sense that he is tall but he is skinny as well. Colborne needs to add some muscle if he wants to be an effective player, especially with Randy Carlyle as coach.
I like Colborne and would be happy to see him play for the Leafs next year. I also like Bozak and think he gets a bad rap. Re-signing Bozak would be a good move in the long run. I’m not saying give him first-line center money. He has a cap hit of only 1.5 million right now so you would probably be able to scoop him up for 3 million maybe 2.5, which, if he keeps playing first-line center, is a bargain. As for his skill if they start playing him with Joffrey Lupul instead of Phil Kessel he will get a lot better numbers than he is getting right now. Also when it comes to his numbers you need to remember that he is a play maker not a goal scorer so his current stats of 10 goals and 13 assists isn’t bad at all. Plus his faceoff stats are unreal, which is something that is really easily taken for granted.
In conclusion, I’m not against giving Colborne a chance, but I still think re-signing Bozak is a good idea.