TORONTO – It didn’t take long for Brian Burke to reach into his Toronto Maple Leafs past in his new job with the Calgary Flames.
Late Saturday night, Burke’s Flames acquired centre Joe Colborne for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Colborne was among the players fighting for one of the final spots on the Leafs roster but did not stand out in the pre-season. The 23-year-old joins a host of other young players who are expected to be given big minutes by the rebuilding Flames.
“With the opportunity to speak with Brian Burke and learn about Joe’s hockey sense and character from someone who had him as a player and knows him so well, it became clear to us that this is the type of young, big centre we need,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement.
“He fits in very well with our rebuild and provides size up the middle which we believe is critical going forward. The fact that he is from Calgary is an added bonus. We look forward to welcoming him to the Flames family.”
It’s the second time Burke has traded for Colborne. When he was the Leafs’ GM, Burke got Colborne from the Bruins as part of a deal that sent defenceman Tomas Kaberle to Boston.
Now the Flames’ president of hockey operations, Burke has some salary-cap space to play with. Beyond Colborne, who’s on a one-year, one-way deal that pays him US$600,000, that could mean getting involved in waivers in the coming days.
“I would predict that Sunday will be a big day on the waiver wire, and possibly Monday, because the league starts on Tuesday,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said.
Colborne, a 2008 first-round pick of the Bruins, has one goal and five assists in 16 career NHL games for the Leafs. He had three assists in six pre-season games.
Toronto said the fourth-round pick it got for Colborne is Calgary’s and that it could be upgraded to a third rounder “if certain conditions are met in the upcoming season.” Those conditions were not disclosed.