Let’s give Joe Colborne some credit

part-ii-local-produce-photo

Joe Colborne is from Calgary and is 6’5. For the longest time, those two facts were the main selling points for Colborne in a Calgary Flames jersey; his newly glossed moniker “Big and Local” doesn’t come from nothing, after all. This season has been different, though. More than ever before, Colborne is making his hockey do the positive talking for him and not his birthplace or height. If you’re not ready to believe that, I’ll try my best to convince you.

Let’s be honest… Colborne has taken a beating over the last number of years in the online community. A large group of people just doesn’t think he’s very good while many have been frustrated by how much he’s been used in key situations. By no means am I here to paint the picture of a homegrown, franchise player here. But Colborne has actually been a decently effective player this season, and more importantly, he’s taken some significant strides forward in his game. Let’s start laying things out.

Progression

Let’s analyze Colborne both from a counting perspective and an analytical perspective. We all know he’s put up some decent points this season and has already set some career highs with a just over two weeks remaining in the season. But just for reference, the table below tracks his three full seasons in the NHL, courtesy HockeyDB.com.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 1.34.25 AM

Colborne has doubled his goals total from one year ago in the same amount of games and is ahead of his pace for points. It’s important to note, too, that only three of Colborne’s points have come on the powerplay this year. His 30 even strength points ranks him fifth on the team overall and third among forwards, behind only Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

Colborne has definitely taken a step forward offensively, at least when it comes to his point totals. But we know that usually doesn’t tell the whole story. With Colborne, though, his underlying numbers follow a similar pattern. Below is a look at his possession and zone start data in all situations and close situations.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 1.43.56 AM

As you can see, Colborne’s situational play has become less sheltered over his three years with the Flames and, while his possession numbers dropped in year two as a result, they’ve bounced back this season. It’s not like his possession metrics put him near the top of the team or anything, but they paint a picture of a much more effective player now than ever before.

That’s where my eye is, as well. From watching Colborne play, I see a much smarter player in the offensive zone. Where cycles used to die routinely on his stick, they are continued and enhanced far more often. As a winger, he seems far more comfortable using his size to good effect both with the puck and without it in front of the net. I was happy to see my eye correlated with the data.

Value

Regardless of what you think of Colborne, getting 33 points from a player making $1.275 million this season is pretty solid return on investment. It’s not on the level of, say, T.J. Brodie, but it’s also nothing to sneeze at (does anyone actually sneeze at things?).

It’s also important to note Colborne’s shootout stats, too. Over his three seasons here, no one has more shootout goals than Colborne’s eight; Monahan also has eight over the same period of time. With eight goals in 17 attempts, though, Colborne’s 47.1% success rate is tops on the team since 2013-14. Like it or not, the shootout is a part of the game and there is a value to being good at it, albeit a small one.

More important than Colborne’s value right now, though, is his potential value down the road. Monahan, Gaudreau, and Mark Giordano alone will be adding somewhere in the neighbourhood of $17 million to the cap next season. Calgary is allocating big dollars going forward to those three along with Brodie, Dougie Hamilton, Michael Frolik, Sam Bennett, and Mikael Backlund. The rest of the roster has to be made up of low priced, effective players.

From what I’ve seen this year, I have some hope that Colborne can be just that. At 26, he’s starting to enter “is what he is” territory, but if this is what he is, I’m okay with that. Colborne is likely best suited as a third line winger who can hold his own against depth opposition on the other side. If you can get 30-40 points from him every year, too, that’s a nice bonus.

Balance

Colborne still has flaws in his game, of course. As much as I think the finer points of his offensive game have improved, we’re still not talking about top of the line stuff here. Colborne still struggles with decision making in the offensive zone and his zone entry decisions can leave a lot to be desired. I can live with those flaws, though, because I’m making a very specific case for Colborne.

My case is not that Colborne deserves a massive raise nor is it that he should be playing more. My point is simply that this season has been a rather effective one for him. Much of the criticism levied Colborne’s way in recent years has been fair, but that same criticism this year isn’t anywhere near as on the mark.

I’m not sure what type of contract Colborne’s camp will be looking for this summer. He’ll still be a restricted free agent, but for the first time in his career Colborne has arbitration rights. I know this, though: if he’s willing to sign a deal that pays him annually close to what he’s making now, I’m all for brining Colborne back on another contract. Stick that in your big, local pipe and smoke it.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      You stole my thunder.

      I’ve been a harsh critic of Big & Local since his first year with Calgary, mainly because he drives me nuts. “All the tools and no toolbox” best describes his play. I’ve also long advocated Colborne to be placed on the 4th line RW (bottom 6 at best). Instead Hartley continues to provide Colborne cherry minutes, good to great line mates and time on the power play all of which are largely unearned.

      I remain unconvinced we’ve seen any real tangible change in his results aside from an unrepeatable shooting percentage of over 19% this season. Frankly, anyone with a shooting percentage of nearly 20% would look just as good. I will concede that he does appear to be going to the net and in better high danger areas lately, but until he does that with far more regularity and consistency, I’m not prepared to say his game has changed.

      Now Joe Colborne at $1.2M and properly deployed as a bottom 6 guy all season long is fine with me, but I don’t trust Hartley to do the right thing. Also, guys that score 20+ goals a season get paid $2M a year, and under no circumstances should the Flames pay for that (see Lance Bouma for a local and recent example of why not.

      • I remain unconvinced we’ve seen any real tangible change in his results aside from an unrepeatable shooting percentage of over 19% this season. Frankly, anyone with a shooting percentage of nearly 20% would look just as good. I will concede that he does appear to be going to the net and in better high danger areas lately, but until he does that with far more regularity and consistency, I’m not prepared to say his game has changed.

        Your point on shooting percentage is a valid one, but do the possession improvements not show you there has been some progression?

        • ChinookArchYYC

          That’s an interesting question. The one thing I noticed last year and can’t quite recall this year was the amount of time Colborne spent with Giordano and Brody on the ice. Those 2 will pad anyone’s possession metrics north. Given he’s been playing a lot with Backlund and Frolik a lot of late, what are we really seeing? In my opinion, its the ability for Backlund and Frolik to carry most players.

          I’m afraid we’re in for a repeat of the Bouma contract, and this team cannot afford more contract mistakes with guys like Wideman, Smid, Engelland and our goalies already making too much money for their contributions back.

        • Parallex

          It’s… unclear.

          He’s played a big chunk with Frolik & Backlund they (along with Gio and Brodie) are the best possession guys on the club. So has he actually improved that part of his game or he just being juiced by the play of others? Is he the driver of his own improvement or is he just a passenger?

          If he’s a passenger is that bad? Not automatically… but we’d need a coaching staff that recognizes that’s what he is and Hartley falls back into old bad habits way way way to easily.

          In my mind it’s a simple equation, if Hartley goes Colborne can stay if Hartley stays then Colborne must go.

      • T&A4Flames

        I haven’t taken a look to prove but I’m pretty sure guys that score 20+ a year get more than $2mil per. I’d also say guys that put up close to 40 points a season get more than $2 mil. No team can have all 70-80 point fwd’s with possession stats north of 50. I think he’s shown enough steady progression over his time here that we can confidently say he should be a (on pace for) 40 point guy for the next few years. And if Tre can sign him for $2mil for 3 seasons, he’s done well. I can see him getting a million $ raise.

        Either way, he’d possibly get picked up at the expansion draft.

    • Bananaberg

      Like most people on here, I like Colborne as a bottom 6 winger. He is playing increasingly smarter on his cycle game and helping keep pucks in the offensive zone for us.

      That said, his production is purely a “contract year” type of situation. He knows that every goal or assist increases his bargaining position in any scenario, but especially arbitration. $1.5 mil max for 3 years (max) I can swallow. Anything larger on salary needs to be for less term (which he ain’t looking for), anything longer on term needs to be less salary.

      Really wish he’d only score against good teams down the stretch here….winning games against draft lottery teams is really ruining our chances of getting Matthews and getting a huge boost in the rebuild.

      Matthews + a real hockey goalie would put this team in a great position for the next 5 years.

  • Parallex

    Only if Hartley is replaced. The problem with Colborne is that he’s frequently a square peg that they try to force into a round hole and I have zero faith in the current staff to not continue to do so in the future.

  • CofRed4Life

    ^Agreed. Colborne’s been used improperly. Like you stated in the article, he’s a depth winger that plays pretty well against depth opposition. My only worry is that his contract becomes Bouma 2.0, given that he’s having a career year. If he’s willing to take something around 1.5 for 2 years (don’t want much term for depth signings), I’d do it. He has been doing pretty well as of late.

    • I’m with you 100%. If he wants the Bouma bump, then I don’t think the Flames can give it to him. If he’s willing to stay in the 1.5 range, then by all means, because that’s a decent value contract. Also agree on term…depth signings should be in the 1-2 range preferably.

      • Greg

        1 interesting aspect of the expansion possibility is that teams might be required to expose a minimum amount of salary in any expansion draft. Say it’s the rumoured 25% of the cap… The flames have pretty much every guy they’d want to expose (save Stajan) off the books by expansion draft time… And stajan’s $3.5M alone won’t meet that requirement.

        They are going to need a few more players under contract through 2018 with non-trivial contracts, and they could do worse than 2x$2M on colbourne.

        Not sure how exactly that will play out, but it’s going to have to factor it into their contract planning this off season. If they don’t manage it correctly, they could be left having to expose someone like Gio just to meet the requirement.

        • Parallex

          Depends on when the expansion draft is… if it’s next off-season the day before the entry draft then the Flames can still put Raymond, Stajan, Smid, Engelland on the unprotected list and be free and clear of the cap % requirement.

          • Greg

            I highly doubt they’ll allow teams to use contracts that expire in a few weeks to meet that requirement. Just like I highly doubt they’ll require teams to use up a protection slot for a NMC that expires in a few weeks.

            The expansion draft won’t happen this year (obviously) so Raymond, Smid, Engelland, and Wideman are all irrelevant for it. Only Stajan, and a bunch of players we would want to keep, will be in the mix if it happens next year. And the flames will have to manage that to ensure they don’t get caught having to expose a player they want to keep.

            I’m sure BT knows that though 🙂 And It’s good that they’ve said GMs will a “full transaction” year of lead time (ie it’ll be announced before the entry draft or not at all), because it’ll take some time to prepare for it

          • Parallex

            “I highly doubt they’ll allow teams to use contracts that expire in a few weeks to meet that requirement.”

            Why? Upcoming UFA’s were eligible to be put on the selection eligible lists the last time the NHL expanded. While the draft won’t happen this offseason it might happen next offseason and if it does happen prior to July 1, 2017 then all those guys are potential guys to go on the list towards meeting the 25%.

        • Just my 2 cents but predicting the future with the expansion draft is not smart. If I am reading this correctly you are basically saying that teams go ahead and gamble on over-paying as the expansion draft gives us a do-over.

          I don’t see that as a sound business or team building strategy.

      • everton fc

        I think Colborne’s been a more consistent producer than Bouma. Move Bouma/keep Colborne. Perhaps he is showing he’s more than a “depth” player? And one could very easily argue the case he’s been deployed poor on occasion, but the coaching staff. He can also play al forward positions. So he gives us a lot of flexibility.

        He’s got an outside chance at 20 goals/20 assists. Bouma will never get there. Nor will Jooris. Give this some thought…

  • Jake the Snail

    Only 3 points on the power play. Hartley has used Local Joe a lot on the power play with next to nothing in return. Not a knock on Joe but on the way Hartley uses his players.

  • monafan

    Great article.. I couldn’t agree more.

    I feel like a lot of people hate on him because he is a 1st round pick that hasn’t and maybe never will realize his full potential.

    That being said, if we keep in mind that we got him for next to nothing, I’d say he was quite a good acquisition and he’s been a pretty effective player for us. Wouldn’t mind if we resigned him (if the price is right of course)

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Why would anyone hate Joe Colborne?

      Look it, Pat put it best he “is what he is”. In a sense it’s not Colborne at all that’s the issue it’s Hartley entirely.

      Aside from Monahan and Gaudreau is there another forward that was given more PP time this year? If so, it’s not by much. Those minutes were absolutely not earned and they were a missed opportunity for other more capable forwards to step in (See Frolik).

  • Hubcap1

    I wonder how much of player usage comes down to actual viable options the coaching staff have available to them. The Flames don’t have a lot of bonafide top line options.

    • Ari Yanover

      Power play usage is really the thing that raises my eyebrow the most here.

      Colborne has played 120:31 minutes on the pp, fifth out of all Flames forwards (Gaudreau, Monahan, Hudler, Bennett ahead). It took him about 80 minutes to get a single pp point, he’s had three since then.

      Michael Frolik has played 24:19 on the pp all season. He hasn’t even been considered. Even when Colborne was effectively proving himself useless time and time again, a perfectly viable option was left to just sit. And that’s when the Flames still had realistic playoff aspirations.

      I’m sure this sentiment won’t be too popular but – I wonder how well Sven Baertschi would have done in Calgary if he’d been spoonfed the way Colborne has his entire time here.

      • MattyFranchise

        Hmm let’s see here (even strength only via war-on-ice)

        Baertschi
        P: 11-6-17
        CF%: 46.4
        SH%: 13.8
        ZS%: 48.7
        ZSO%Rel: -2.8
        SCF%: 44.7
        SCF%Rel: 0.0
        HSCF%: 43.6
        HSCF%Rel: -0.9%
        TOI: 11.5
        TOI all situations: 13.6
        PPP: 2-5-7 on the PP this season.

        Colborne
        P: 12-15-27
        CF%: 47.3
        SH%: 19.4
        ZS%: 44.2
        ZSO%Rel: -7.1
        SCF%: 48
        SCF%Rel: -2.3
        HSCF%: 48.3
        HSCF%Rel: -1.1
        TOI: 12.6
        TOI all situations: 15.2
        PPP: 2-1-3

        Via leftwinglock.com three most common line combinations for both players (I’m not sure if these are all situations or what cause the site doesn’t say but I’m assuming they are):

        Baertschi-Horvat-Vrbata 31.94%
        Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen 18.76%
        Baertschi-Horvate-Hansen 6.69%

        Colborne-Jones-Stajan 16.69%
        Colborne-Frolik-Backlund 12.74%
        Colborne-Ferland-Stajan 10.02%

        Looks to me like Sven is getting more of a push than Colborne is and he is doing less. Colborne’s shooting percentage is pretty high though and with a quick look at his counting stats his goals are little higher than they were in the last 2 seasons but his assists are about the same so far.

        Last season Colborne scored 8-20-28 in 64 games with an 11.9 SH%. This season he’s gone 16-17-33 in 64 games so far but with an 18.4 SH%.

        His career high for PPP was last season and it was a whopping 5 points (1-4-5).

        So I don’t think there’s a problem with Colborne. There’s a problem with Hartley putting the guy on the PP all the time.

      • MattyFranchise

        Hmm let’s see here (even strength only via war-on-ice)

        Baertschi
        P: 11-6-17
        CF%: 46.4
        SH%: 13.8
        ZS%: 48.7
        ZSO%Rel: -2.8
        SCF%: 44.7
        SCF%Rel: 0.0
        HSCF%: 43.6
        HSCF%Rel: -0.9%
        TOI: 11.5
        TOI all situations: 13.6
        PPP: 2-5-7 on the PP this season.

        Colborne
        P: 12-15-27
        CF%: 47.3
        SH%: 19.4
        ZS%: 44.2
        ZSO%Rel: -7.1
        SCF%: 48
        SCF%Rel: -2.3
        HSCF%: 48.3
        HSCF%Rel: -1.1
        TOI: 12.6
        TOI all situations: 15.2
        PPP: 2-1-3

        Via leftwinglock.com three most common line combinations for both players (I’m not sure if these are all situations or what cause the site doesn’t say but I’m assuming they are):

        Baertschi-Horvat-Vrbata 31.94%
        Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen 18.76%
        Baertschi-Horvate-Hansen 6.69%

        Colborne-Jones-Stajan 16.69%
        Colborne-Frolik-Backlund 12.74%
        Colborne-Ferland-Stajan 10.02%

        Looks to me like Sven is getting more of a push than Colborne is and he is doing less. Colborne’s shooting percentage is pretty high though and with a quick look at his counting stats his goals are little higher than they were in the last 2 seasons but his assists are about the same so far.

        Last season Colborne scored 8-20-28 in 64 games with an 11.9 SH%. This season he’s gone 16-17-33 in 64 games so far but with an 18.4 SH%.

        His career high for PPP was last season and it was a whopping 5 points (1-4-5).

        So I don’t think there’s a problem with Colborne. There’s a problem with Hartley putting the guy on the PP all the time.

      • MattyFranchise

        Hmm let’s see here (even strength only via war-on-ice)

        Baertschi
        P: 11-6-17
        CF%: 46.4
        SH%: 13.8
        ZS%: 48.7
        ZSO%Rel: -2.8
        SCF%: 44.7
        SCF%Rel: 0.0
        HSCF%: 43.6
        HSCF%Rel: -0.9%
        TOI: 11.5
        TOI all situations: 13.6
        PPP: 2-5-7 on the PP this season.

        Colborne
        P: 12-15-27
        CF%: 47.3
        SH%: 19.4
        ZS%: 44.2
        ZSO%Rel: -7.1
        SCF%: 48
        SCF%Rel: -2.3
        HSCF%: 48.3
        HSCF%Rel: -1.1
        TOI: 12.6
        TOI all situations: 15.2
        PPP: 2-1-3

        Via leftwinglock.com three most common line combinations for both players (I’m not sure if these are all situations or what cause the site doesn’t say but I’m assuming they are):

        Baertschi-Horvat-Vrbata 31.94%
        Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen 18.76%
        Baertschi-Horvate-Hansen 6.69%

        Colborne-Jones-Stajan 16.69%
        Colborne-Frolik-Backlund 12.74%
        Colborne-Ferland-Stajan 10.02%

        Looks to me like Sven is getting more of a push than Colborne is and he is doing less. Colborne’s shooting percentage is pretty high though and with a quick look at his counting stats his goals are little higher than they were in the last 2 seasons but his assists are about the same so far.

        Last season Colborne scored 8-20-28 in 64 games with an 11.9 SH%. This season he’s gone 16-17-33 in 64 games so far but with an 18.4 SH%.

        His career high for PPP was last season and it was a whopping 5 points (1-4-5).

        So I don’t think there’s a problem with Colborne. There’s a problem with Hartley putting the guy on the PP all the time.

  • Derzie

    The beef with Colborne comes down to preferential treatment by the coaches. He gets plum assignments regardless of performance. For instance he is on the PP as a ‘go to the net because you’re big’ guy. Hudler had that role but he was of the ‘go to the net because you have good hands’ variety. Joe is riding plum assignments in garbage time with strong linemates. Avoid Bouma 2.0. Even a cheaper Bouma 2.0. Sell high.

  • MattyFranchise

    If my comment doesn’t get posted after all of that research I just did I am going to lose it.

    There’s no bad words in it, just a bunch of lists and html formatting to account for line breaks.

    Why does this site wish to screw me?

    EDIT: Ok, so you can only have one source link in a comment? What if I used two sites for my information?

  • MattyFranchise

    Hmm let’s see here (even strength only via war-on-ice)

    Baertschi
    P: 11-6-17
    CF%: 46.4
    SH%: 13.8
    ZS%: 48.7
    ZSO%Rel: -2.8
    SCF%: 44.7
    SCF%Rel: 0.0
    HSCF%: 43.6
    HSCF%Rel: -0.9%
    TOI: 11.5
    TOI all situations: 13.6
    PPP: 2-5-7 on the PP this season.

    Colborne
    P: 12-15-27
    CF%: 47.3
    SH%: 19.4
    ZS%: 44.2
    ZSO%Rel: -7.1
    SCF%: 48
    SCF%Rel: -2.3
    HSCF%: 48.3
    HSCF%Rel: -1.1
    TOI: 12.6
    TOI all situations: 15.2
    PPP: 2-1-3

    Via leftwinglock.com three most common line combinations for both players (I’m not sure if these are all situations or what cause the site doesn’t say but I’m assuming they are):

    Baertschi-Horvat-Vrbata 31.94%
    Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen 18.76%
    Baertschi-Horvate-Hansen 6.69%

    Colborne-Jones-Stajan 16.69%
    Colborne-Frolik-Backlund 12.74%
    Colborne-Ferland-Stajan 10.02%

    Looks to me like Sven is getting more of a push than Colborne is and he is doing less. Colborne’s shooting percentage is pretty high though and with a quick look at his counting stats his goals are little higher than they were in the last 2 seasons but his assists are about the same so far.

    Last season Colborne scored 8-20-28 in 64 games with an 11.9 SH%. This season he’s gone 16-17-33 in 64 games so far but with an 18.4 SH%.

    His career high for PPP was last season and it was a whopping 5 points (1-4-5).

    So I don’t think there’s a problem with Colborne. There’s a problem with Hartley putting the guy on the PP all the time.

  • MattyFranchise

    @ Ari Yanover

    Hmm let’s see here, even strength only via war-on-ice

    Baertschi
    P: 11-6-17
    CF%: 46.4
    SH%: 13.8
    ZS%: 48.7
    ZSO%Rel: -2.8
    SCF%: 44.7
    SCF%Rel: 0.0
    HSCF%: 43.6
    HSCF%Rel: -0.9%
    TOI: 11.5
    TOI all situations: 13.6
    PPP: 2-5-7 on the PP this season.

    Colborne
    P: 12-15-27
    CF%: 47.3
    SH%: 19.4
    ZS%: 44.2
    ZSO%Rel: -7.1
    SCF%: 48
    SCF%Rel: -2.3
    HSCF%: 48.3
    HSCF%Rel: -1.1
    TOI: 12.6
    TOI all situations: 15.2
    PPP: 2-1-3

    Via leftwinglock.com three most common line combinations for both players (I’m not sure if these are all situations or what cause the site doesn’t say but I’m assuming they are):

    Baertschi-Horvat-Vrbata 31.94%
    Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen 18.76%
    Baertschi-Horvate-Hansen 6.69%

    Colborne-Jones-Stajan 16.69%
    Colborne-Frolik-Backlund 12.74%
    Colborne-Ferland-Stajan 10.02%

    Looks to me like Sven is getting more of a push than Colborne is and he is doing less. Colborne’s shooting percentage is pretty high though and with a quick look at his counting stats his goals are twice as high as they were in the last 2 seasons but his assists are about the same so far.

    Last season Colborne scored 8-20-28 in 64 games with an 11.9 SH%. This season he’s gone 16-17-33 in 64 games so far but with an 18.4 SH%.

    His career high for PPP was last season and it was a whopping 5 points (1-4-5).

    So I don’t think there’s a problem with Colborne. There’s a problem with Hartley putting the guy on the PP all the time.

  • freethe flames

    What is a mid 6 player scoring 12-18 goals a season worth today? That is what he is, he can play on the pk, the second PP, takes face offs, and adds over 10+ goals a season.

  • Greatsave

    (All stats from puckalytics.com and hockey-reference.com)

    Let’s establish a few things about Colborne first:

    1. He doesn’t shoot a lot. His 87 shots on goal this season is already a career high.

    2. His career shooting % prior to this season is 11.95% (all situations). 12.24% in two prior seasons with the Flames.

    3. He is shooting 18.4% this season, well above career average.

    This appears to be an anomaly and therefore I expect there will be regression.

    4. His 5v5 IPP (individual point percentage) in his previous two seasons with Flames is 72.1%.

    5. His 5v5 IPP this season is 77.1%.

    This, again, appears to be an anomaly, therefore I expect regression.

    6. His on-ice 5v4 PP GF60 this season is 3.63, down from 5.0 and 4.7 from two previous seasons.

    7. His off-ice 5v4 PP GF60 this season is 6.30, up from 5.3 and 5.83 from two previous seasons.

    8. His on-ice 5v4 PP Corsi shooting % this season is 3.63%, down from 5.77% and 5.56% from previous two seasons, and third-worst on the team ahead of Nakladal and Raymond.

    See, I wouldn’t mind his lack of PP points if it meant the team was scoring on the PP with him on the ice. But that doesn’t seem to be the case this season. He needs to make way for Ferland or Bennett on the top unit.

    One more thing I want to ask: if Colborne has improved his underlyings AND is riding a high shooting %, why is he still a -9 on the season?

    • MattyFranchise

      Thirty players have skated for the Flames this season. Of those 30 players, 6 are positive, although one is Jokipakka so I’m not sure if he counts, and 2 are even. So… this is not a Colborne specific problem. The only player that cracks double digit positive +/- is Brodie and he’s only +12.

      • Greatsave

        I’m not picking on Colborne specifically for being a minus. I’m wondering what will happen to him once his shooting % comes crashing down, given he’s still second-worst in plus/minus on the team while riding a sky-high shooting %.

        Obviously Hamilton’s a -9 too, but he just never got himself out of the -11 hole he fell into through the first 9 games of the season.

        • MattyFranchise

          Well, last season was in line with his career SH% and he finished +7. Last season the team was +25. This season the team is on pace for -32.

          So… I would imagine that if his SH% goes back to his career average with the season this team has been having he’d look a lot worse +/- wise but I’m not expecting a big drop off next season as far as that stat goes.

          This season and last season have been night and day though. Last season everything went right, this season everything has gone wrong.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          I am not convinced of Colbourn’s sudden jump in production given that most of his points seem to be coming with Calgary essentially out of a playoff push. He gets choice line ares and assignments so he should be gettingthis much production. Janko can take these minutes next year a flourish.

  • Theo4HoF

    Colborne is useful when the puck bounces off his ass and in the net. Otherwise I don’t think he hurts or helps us much. No issue with seeing him walk, if we keep him better be dirt cheap and little term.

  • RedMan

    when this team is poised to turn the corner, then the opportunity for guys like Colborne to get valuable experience in all situations will vanish.

    I do not believe the coach believes that Colborne is a better option in all these situations, just that, given the rebuild, he has the luxury of giving guys like Joe more opportunities in all situations, which ultimately, I believes, gives him a chance to develop more skills and round out some of the rough edges.

    when this team is competing (rebuild ‘over’), Joe will be a better 3rd line player for having had the chance to swim in the deep end so to speak.

    TL;DR – the extra time gave Joe valuable development opportunity, making him better overall in his future role, without compromising anyone else’s development.

    I see no need to second guess the coach on this. If Joe is a better third liner, it is because he was given the opportunity to develop.

  • King Quong

    I’m sure his shooting % will go down but at the same time I hope that his high shooting percentage is instead a sign that he’s perhaps finally getting over his nagging wrist injury (that was miss managed since his Marlie Days). Between that and his tendency to pass unless he has a high percentage shot could lead to him having a higher career sh% like Tanguay

  • KACaribou

    “Colborne still has flaws in his game, of course. As much as I think the finer points of his offensive game have improved, we’re still not talking about top of the line stuff here. Colborne still struggles with decision making in the offensive zone and his zone entry decisions can leave a lot to be desired. I can live with those flaws, though, because I’m making a very specific case for Colborne.” – Spreadsheet Steinberg

    The trouble with this statement is its generality.

    “flaws in his game…” For instance?

    “finer points… have improved.” For instance?

    “not talking top of the line stuff…” huh? What stuff isn’t top of the line?

    “struggles with decision making.’ Really?

    “zone entry decisions leave a lot to be desired” In what sense?

    All just a bunch of words strung together to sound analytical but with no backing proof or examples which require hockey knowledge.

    Johnny Hockey gives away the puck more than anyone on the team, do you “struggle with his flaws… decision making… zone entry decisions…?

    Very vague.

    The man is 6’5” and has different physical limitations and capabilities than others on the team. He may be making excellent decisions considering his physical capabilities. Who knows?

    He’s also very good in front of the net on PP, and that is a thankless job often resulting in the creation of goals with no points for which to show.

    Just thought I would point out the flaws in Spreadsheet’s writing the way he “proves” supposed flaws in Joe Colborne’s game.

    Also I would like to point out to Mr. Steinberg that he seems to have difficulty handing out compliments to Flames players without them resulting in actually being “backhanded compliments,” which is what was done here to Joe Colborne.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Follow the formula and the Flames will badly overpay Colborne just as they did with Bouma last year.

    Hope Joe’s agent is a man of integrity and can convince him that more is not always better. A contract of no more $2M a year for 2 years would be fair to both. Joe is solid bottom 6, but his penchant for scoring in shootouts can’t be overlooked nor can his 16 and counting zingers this year. Great to see a local kid wear the local colours too.

    Let’s hope Joe is wise enough to not try and price himself out of Calgary because I think he has a place on this team, and it might be that the fit he has on the Flames is the best fit of any other team.