Leafs prospect and Marlies top forward, Joe Colbourne, announced Wednesday morning that he will indeed undergo surgery to repair his wrist. “I’ve been battling a wrist injury all year and we’re going to take care of that over the next week or so, hopefully I’ll be ready by camp.” This injury report comes to no surprise as the forward had seen a significant drop in overall production at the tail end of the 2012 season.
Colbourne started the year with 10 goals in the first 12 games for the Marlies and 4 points in 6 games for the Leafs in the NHL. However, upon his return to the Marlies, his numbers began to steadily decline. He registered just 6 goals in the last 51 games of the season. The battle with injury became evident in the AHL Playoffs, as the rest of his major supporting cast on the top lines began to pile on to the injury list and his role became more prominent.
”I don’t want to make excuses but it’s not fun and it didn’t make it any easier,” Colbourne stated. Marlies Head Coach, Dallas Eakins, also told reporters that most players would have shut it down with that sort of injury, but that Colbourne was willing to battle through it.
Colbourne said he has already met with a local doctor and said he would have his wrist dealt with over the next week or so.
Colbourne will join fellow Leaf prospects Matt Frattin and Nazem Kadri on the summer recovery list. Frattin has already had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus that he injured in the final seconds of the Conference Final. Frattin slid into the goal post after burying the series clinching empty netter against the Oklahoma City Barons. Leafs top prospect, Nazem Kadri, also missed the better half of the AHL Playoffs with a separated shoulder.
The status of these youngsters could also factor into the degree of offseason and pre-draft activity of the Leafs Management. If the prospects’ statuses are still widely unknown in the next month, it could mean a more aggressive approach in obtaining more depth, should an injury problem plague the Leafs in 2013. Not to mention an attempt to continue minor league dominance and progress throughout the developmental program. But these injuries should only have a minimal effect on how the Leafs approach the offseason.
While the other two Leaf hopefuls’ return date is unknown, Colbourne looks to return in time for camp this September.