Colborne

When the Bruins selected him with the 16th pick overall in 2008, Joe Colborne talked about using the limited game schedule in NCAA hockey to work out and full in his frame.

Well, after two seasons at Denver, it seems “Jumbo Joe” has done just that. And so now he has decided to depart college life for the rigors of professional hockey and fulfill his lifelong dream.

“We just thought that with the weight that I’ve put on over the last two years, and with the strength I’ve added, I feel like for me personally it was the right step to continue improving and to hopefully get back to the organization and help them start winning games,” said Colborne today during a conference call.

Colborne, one of four prospects the Bruins signed today, said his weight is around 210, 215 pounds to go with his 6-foot-5-or-taller height. He finished his sophomore year with 41 points (22 goals) after recording 31 points as a freshman. Colborne will report to Providence (AHL) for the P-Bruins’ final six games, along with fellow signee Steve Kampfer and previously signed prospect Max Sauve. Michael Hutchinson and Jordan Caron, who also signed today, will remain with their junior clubs for their playoffs. Both players, however, will turn pro next season.

One thing Providence might take advantage of with Colborne on its roster is his versatility. Naturally a center before landing at DU, Colborne has played a lot on the wing this and last season. This year, his shift was necessary because a severely injured finger (he played a few weeks with a pin in it) weakened his bottom hand.

General manager Peter Chiarelli said the Bruins won’t hesitate to move Colborne around in order to get the most out of one of their most-prized prospects.

“Throughout the two years (at Denver), he’s put on – naturally and through working hard at it – muscle and weight and he’s grown too height-wise,” Chiarelli said. “All of that has helped his skating and strength on the puck. I’ve seen him live this year twice, and I probably saw every one of his game but maybe five. Every time I’ve watched him, I’ve noticed his skating getting better and the things that we’ve asked him to work on getting better.”

Colborne’s pro journey is scheduled to start Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against Worcester. He’s hoping big things are in store the next two weeks and beyond.

“I’m coming here to try to make a great first impression,” he said. “This is my first opportunity to get to know the pro game, so I’m going to take these six games as a big learning experience. I want to come and show that I can play at this level and hopefully play at a high level and just show the Bruins organization what I have to offer and hopefully set myself up to take a run at a roster spot next training camp.”