Was Colborne’s Breakout Night a Preview?

It only took nine minutes and 21 seconds for Joe Colborne to make his name known to Colorado Avalanche fans.

Nearly five minutes later the Avalanche’s newest face put another shot past the Star’s goaltender Antti Niemi, leading many fans wondering if this was the next great “Joe” to come into Denver.

At 7:05 of the second period on a tipped play, Colborne had himself the unexpected hat-trick.

Colborne’s three goals, although not pretty, showed exactly why his inexpensive $2.5 million offseason signing may have been a steal of the summer for the Avalanche and general manager Joe Sakic. Although exciting, Colborne’s hat-trick was unexpected and may have been a bit of a tease for Avalanche fans on what to expect with this new signing going forward.

First of His Kind

Colborne’s hat trick in a debut marked the first in Avalanche history and the second in franchise history since Real Cloutier accomplished the feat in his debut with the Quebec Nordiques on October 10th, 1979.

Colborne finished his first game with the Avs with a total time on ice of 12:59, which was expected as he was signed to be a role player rather than a scoring presence. But if the new Big Joe in town can continue to find his way onto the Avalanches exciting, lethal power-play, both his career-highs of 19 goals and 44 in points from a year ago with the Calgary Flames will likely be surpassed in his inaugural Avalanche season.

Before Denver

Prior to joining the Avalanche, Colborne had played at least one NHL game in each of the past six seasons. Starting his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he failed to ever turn into an everyday player across his three choppy seasons with the team before being shipped off to the Flames.


Once in the Flames organization, Colborne established himself as a solid bottom-six role player. In his three seasons with the Flame’s Colborne accumulated 37 goals and 100 points in 217 games. Last season with the Flames Colborne shot an impressive 19%; almost 10 points higher than the league average and four percent higher than career average; on pace to his career high of 19 goals.

If Friday was any indication of things to come, Colborne will likely surpass his career high of 100 shots from a season ago. That means even if he reverts back to his career average shooting percentage, which is still very high, he should be able to top 20 goals for the first time in his career with the Avalanche’s high-flying offence.

What to Expect Going Forward

To be excited about what Colborne brings this team is a natural and completely acceptable reaction. Friday may have been a bit of a fluke as far a goal scoring goes, but it shows the excitement we can hope and learn to expect from this young Avalanche team. If this change of scenery is what Colborne needed to truly break out into a big bodied scoring presence, then Colorado fans have all the more reason to be excited about this 26-year-old and what he brings to a refreshed line-up under new head coach, Jared Bednar. With performances like Friday night, many fans may be expecting more from Colborne in future, upcoming games. At the same time, do not be surprised if the

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With performances like Friday night, many fans may be expecting more from Colborne in future, upcoming games. At the same time, do not be surprised if the hard-nosed defensive forward spends the majority of the season on the defensive side of play rather than filling the score sheet like he did in the opener.