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Toronto Maple Leafs: Colborne, Frattin Start NHL Careers as Regular Season Ends

Jon NeelyAnalyst IApril 8, 2011

Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens will be all about finishing the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but for the two newest members of the team, it'll be all about the beginning. 

For Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne, it will be the first game of their respective NHL careers, in the Leafs 82nd game of the season.

President and General Manager Brian Burke announced on Friday that Frattin had signed a two-year entry level contract with the Leafs, and would be making his debut with the club the next day. He was drafted 99th overall in the 2007 Entry Draft.

Frattin, who played at the University of North Dakota this season, was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year, as well as the runner-up for the 2011 Hobey Baker Award. He lead the NCAA with 36 goals through 44 games, and finished the season with 60 points. 

The 23-year-old winger will likely see time on the third-line, but will no doubt be moved around during the meaningless game to see what he can do in various situations.

Colborne, who arrived to the organization as a part of the trade that sent Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins, has been with the Toronto Marlies for 19 games since. He scored eight goals and 15 points with the Leafs' AHL affiliate, and finished the year with 20 goals and 41 points in 74 games overall. 

The 6'5" towering center will reportedly play between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, which means he'll not only be playing with the most skilled player on the team, but playing against the Canadiens' best as well. 

Unlike Frattin, who will be travelling to Toronto through the night and arrive on Saturday, Colborne was able to practice with the club on Friday. The game will give each player a taste of what life is like in the NHL, as well as give the coaching staff a glimpse of what to expect in the future. 

This game isn't going to make-or-break either player's career, but a solid appearance could prove to add even more optimism to 2011-12, a season that fans are already looking forward to thanks to a few other first-year Leafs making a favourable impression.

When asked about playing his first game on Hockey Night in Canada at home to the Canadiens, Colborne replied with a giant smile on his face: "It doesn't get much better than that."

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