In the immediate aftermath of the Thomas Vanek trade, we gathered some info about their chief return, 20-year-old Sabastien Collberg.
Here is a little more, which reinforces the duality of this and just about every upper-tier prospect: Clear skill, clear development yet to be done in order to be an NHLer. First, some highlight videos of him playing against his own age group (Collberg has had difficulty gaining minutes and traction against the "men" of the SEL):
2013 WJC - All Points
2014 WJC - All Points
'Top Prospect' ... 'Not in the Plans'
A day after the deadline, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin talked with media, leading to a few more bits and opinions on the prospect. Bergevin called Collberg "a great prospect."
"We gave up a great prospect for [Vanek]. You don't get anything for free. But we were able to bring in a great player who can score goals."— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 7, 2014
I'm not sure if Bergevin is like Garth Snow in that he's never going to downplay a player on his way out the door, but you'd expect the trading GM to at least be complimentary of the prospect, so little surprise there.
But TVA hockey reporter Renaud Lavoie said he was no longer in the plans.
Sebastian Collberg was not in Canadiens plan anymore. Other prospects were un front of him and that's why he was traded yesterday.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) March 7, 2014
He was ranked towards the bottom of my top 100 prospects in the summer, and the top 50 in my midseason update. The issue with Collberg hasnn't changed much: he's looked tremendous versus his age group, but lackluster in the major professional leagues, specifically the top Swedish league.
Collberg is a gifted skater with a high amount of skill and one of the better shots in the prospect world. His one-timer is elite and his ability to score from the point on the man advantage is a big asset. He's improved his playmaking, but goal-scoring is more what he's about. His physical game is lacking, as he's small (5-11, 181 pounds), not that strong on the puck, and doesn't win a ton of battles. His defense has improved somewhat, though.
Incidentally, a little more from Pronman, who sees Collberg today as comparable to a mid-first-round pick:
Further comments on the Vanek trade: Vanek was acquired originally for a 1st, 2nd, and Moulson. Assume Collberg = a mid first which is....— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 7, 2014
A debateable point, but one which the NYI likely see (and I see a good case) then it gets close to a top 10 pick value due to the....— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 7, 2014
Extra development times Collberg has had even if not at the mark. The gap in the 2 trades really comes from Vanek>Moulson but...— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 7, 2014
And of course, you probably saw Islanders GM Garth Snow saying his scouts really liked Collberg, a 2012 pick (33rd overall) selected just before the Isles picked Ville Pokka, and a winger who has played with fellow Swede and Isles prospect Johan Sundstrom.
Of course a GM is going to say that about the piece he just received, but there are parts of Collberg's game to like -- and they are the kinds of attributes you should be gambling on.
As always, it's a matter if the rest of his game fills out.
Finally, this is friend of LHH Andrew Berkshire at Habs Eyes on the Prize, possibly betraying that inherent feeling that you never like to give up assets for rentals, even if the odds look good:
A lot was made yesterday about what a low price Montreal paid for Vanek, and relative to other deadline years, this is true, but relative to this year, it's not. Marc Bergevin has been notoriously cagey about giving up high draft picks, so losing the second rounder is a pretty big deal, but on top of that, Sebastian Collberg was the Canadiens' top forward prospect in their system.
Now he's in the Islanders' system -- a system, it should be noted, that is heavily weighted toward defense in Collberg's age group. Here's to hoping that one day matters.