Colborne

Colborne

No. 10: As a first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, Joe Colborne might have wanted to avoid comparisons to another “Jumbo Joe” on draft night last June.

But the 6-foot-6, 196-pound native of Calgary didn’t shy away from the comparisons to Joe Thornton or the nickname after the Bruins selected him 16th overall in Ottawa.

“A few guys on my team would call me that too. But I definitely look up to him as a role model, as an idol,” Colborne said of the since-jettisoned captain of the Bruins. “So if I could have anything near the career that he’s had, I would be more than happy.”

Even a peek at Colborne’s pro career might be two or three years away, but the Bruins’ decision to use their first-round draft pick on the current University of Denver forward was big enough to be the No. 10 Bruins story of 2008.

Obviously, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was relieved that Colborne was on the board at 16.

“He’s a competitor; he’s a smart player. Sometimes with the bigger kids, you’re legs aren’t going a million miles an hour … but you see they can’t take the puck off him and you’re getting chances, that’s the type of player Joe is,” the GM said. “He’ll wind it up and get going and you have to get out of the way because you can’t get the puck off him. And he’s got a big shot.”

After two seasons playing junior hockey with Camrose of the AJHL, Colborne was looking forward to settling in with his UD teammates — earning grades and pumping iron when he wasn’t on the ice. Through his first 19 collegiate games, he was holding his own with 4-12-16 totals and a plus-9 rating.

The Bruins’ ’08 draft was forwar oriented, with junior players Maxime Sauve and Jamie Arniel also tabbed by Boston. But Colborne is the one the franchise is counting on to come through with superstar stripes. And his development over the next couple years could be as big a story as any over that time.