Colborne thrilled to be re-signed by Flames, looking forward to reuniting with pal Mason Raymond
Big centre agrees to terms on a new two-year deal with Calgary worth $1.275M a year
What a thrill it had been. Getting to hook up with a good friend on a National Hockey League roster? And on the same line yet?
What could be better?
Well, for starters, a reunion that lasts longer than a week.
Mason Raymond signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sept. 23, 2013.
But Joe Colborne was shipped out Sept. 29.
“We were looking forward to playing with each other,” Colborne said of Raymond, fellow alumnus of the Camrose (AJHL) Kodiaks. “We were playing pretty well . . . had a few goals. Then I got dealt before we had a chance to mesh.”
However, the forwards are now back in same dressing room.
The Calgary Flames snared Raymond, a Cochrane native, on July 1.
And Colborne, a restricted free agent, was re-upped Tuesday by the Flames.
“Hopefully, we’ll have a lot longer together than we had in Toronto,” said Colborne, chuckling. “Hopefully, we can rekindle things.
“As soon as I saw him get picked up by us, I sent him a quick text. And he was one of the first guys to send me a text when I finally got my deal done.”
Players can generally look at their contracts a number of ways.
With acceptance that it’s just part of being a professional hockey player.
So how does Colborne view his two-year pact — worth $1.275 million per winter?
“I think it’s kind of a mixture of all three,” he replied. “It’s obviously exciting (because) I get a chance to play two more years for my home town.”
Tuesday’s agreement spares both parties the agony of arbitration — where a player’s shortcoming are laid out in painful detail. A hearing had been scheduled for Aug. 1 in Toronto.
No one wanted that.
“I’ve heard a few horror stories,” said Colborne. “But (the process) is there for a reason . . . and it kind of helps protect me as a player. I talked to (general manager Brad Treliving) and we’re both excited to put this behind us. Now we can focus on getting ready for the season.”
Meaning there aren’t any lingering hard feelings about Colborne’s official request for an arbitrator.
“It was so funny . . . I had people texting me and calling me and asking me why I was unhappy being in Calgary,” said the 24-year-old. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m loving it here. It’s what I dreamt of my whole life — playing for the Flames.’ It was more of a formality. When you have a player who wants to be here and a management team that wants the player to be here, you’re very rarely going to end up (in a hearing).
“So it’s a big of relief that way. But more than that, it’s the excitement about being able to come back to the group of guys that we have and, hopefully, continue the path that we’ve set out on.”
For the Flames — on a salary of $600,000 — Colborne had appeared in 80 games, collecting 28 points. To boot, he’d gone 4-for-9 in shootouts.
It marked the first time he’d dressed for more than 10 matches in an NHL season.
“I had such a good year last year . . . to finally solidify myself as an NHL player,” Colborne, centre-turned-winger, said. “To figure out a deal that will keep me here two more years is pretty special.”
By the end of the busy campaign, the six-foot-five forward’s frame had been pared to 208 pounds.
Now he’s back up to 220.
“Good weight, too,” said Colborne. “I’m excited to get camp going, then the regular season started.”
Remaining restricted free agents include goalie Joni Ortio; defencemen Mark Cundari and Chad Billins; forward Lance Bouma.
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