A rugged left-winger that was a proficient scorer in junior, Colin Forbes evolved into a grinding role player in the NHL. He entered the 2001-02 season with the hopes of playing a "lunch bucket" role on the improved New York Rangers.
The native of New Westminster, British Columbia played a year with Sherwood Park of the Alberta Junior League in 1993-94. That summer he was chosen 166th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers who left him in junior to play with the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks. Forbes scored 57 goals and played an abrasive style during his time in Portland before spending a year with the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms. He also scored a goal in a three-game look with the Flyers in 1996-97 before joining the team on a full time basis the next season.
Forbes was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the March deadline in 1999 in exchange for enforcer Sandy McCarthy. Early in the 1999-2000 season he was sent to the Ottawa Senators and played a solid grinding role as the team finished with 95 points. Forbes continued as defensive player for Ottawa the next season until he was traded to the New York Rangers for Eric Lacroix. He played industrious hockey for the Blueshirts but the team fell short of qualification for the post-season.
Following a brief stint with the Rangers, Forbes was acquired by the Washington Capitals in the summer of 2001 and went on to play three seasons with the organization, spending the majority of his playing time with the Caps AHL affiliate in Portland.
In the summer of 2004, Forbes was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes and upon his arrival with the organization spent the entire 2004-05 season with the AHL's Lowell Lock Monsters. In the early portions of the 2005-06 season, Forbes continued to toil in Lowell before having his rights acquired by the Washington Capitals.