When you have a guy who wants to play for the team and a management that also wants the guy playing for the team, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out a deal. - Joe Colborne
CALGARY, AB -- Joe Colborne had no doubt it was going to get done.
So it came as no surprise to the 24-year-old when he and the Calgary Flames connected on a contract Tuesday that will see Colborne remain in his hometown for another two seasons.
“When you have a guy who wants to play for the team and a management that also wants the guy playing for the team, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out a deal,” said Colborne, who was coming off a one-year, $600,000 contact. “More than anything, it just came down to we had some new management come in and they have a lot of stuff to get acclimated to the team.
“There’s no real rush. We didn’t need to force our way through it. We took our time and I think it ended up being a pretty fair deal for both sides.”
Eligible for arbitration with a hearing set in Toronto for August 1st, a deal would’ve been struck between Colborne and the Flames eventually.
The often-ugly process isn’t a path either side will have to stroll down now.
Nor will he have to answer any further questions about the process, much to the forward’s liking.
“I’m just so happy to have it out of the way,” he started; tongue firmly planted in cheek, “so I don’t have to answer too many more questions about arbitration or anything about that.”
The former first round pick of the Boston Bruins will instead eagerly field queries about how eager he is to return to the team he grew up cheering for and how he can improve upon his first full NHL season, a campaign that saw him record 10 goals and 28 points in 80 games after the Flames acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs last September.
Those are questions the far-from-shy former Camrose Kodiaks standout is ready to talk at length about.
“It was quite the dream come true last year to play for the team I grew up watching and idolizing,” said Colborne, who tips the scales at over 220 pounds after finishing the season at under-210. “To be able to come back and have a few more years of it, it’s pretty special, especially with the way we finished last year.
“We started to see some of the stuff we could do and start to figure things out and hopefully we can continue down that path and get the Flames back to a top team in the league.”
A year ago, Colborne's path was a little muddier.
At this point last year, he had just signed his first one-way pact with the Toronto Maple Leafs -- a one-year offering.
Still seeking to make his mark on the NHL after having just 16 career games scattered over parts of the previous three seasons, the centre couldn’t see how he fit with the Maple Leafs.
“I think back to last year and I had just signed my first one-way contract and it was with Toronto,” he started, “I kind of knew the situation where there wasn’t too much room for me. I wasn’t sure what my role was.”
A year later and Colborne has a better understanding.
“I was finally giving myself a chance where I can sit back now and have a goal in mind,” he said. “I had such a fun year last year with the guys. I’m so pumped to be coming back to this group and to continue the progress we started last year.”
Colborne knows he fits as part of that progress the rebuilding Flames have started. The new contract only serves to re-enforce the fact.
He isn’t sure where he fits, but he couldn’t care less.
He just wants to help.
“Like I said last year, as long as I’m given a chance to play out there, I could care less if I’m playing the wing or center,” Colborne said. “I just want to get out there, get on the ice and help the team pick up where we left off.
“I’d be more than happy with playing defence if they asked. I think I’d be a pretty good defenceman, actually. I could play the blue line a little bit.
“It’s all exciting to be coming back to my hometown team. Whatever role they see me playing in, I’ll take and run with.”