Five Minutes with Top Shelf Prospect Michael Dal Colle

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Friday night I was able to get a live look in at Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals.  The Generals came storming out of the gate and took a 4-0 lead before the end of the first period.  The Generals proved, once again, why they are the best team in the Eastern Conference.

The Steelheads were playing their second game of a three games in three nights stretch.  After incumbent Spencer Martin picked up the win on Thusday, rookie Chase Marchand started the game for the Steelheads and let in all four goals.  You had to feel sorry for the kid though, as Oshawa was completely dominant in the early part of the game, particularly on the powerplay where players like Dal Colle, Cole Cassels, Scott Laughton, and Josh Sterk can really move the puck around quickly.  After Marchand was pulled during the first intermission, the Steelheads seemed to pick up their play in the defensive zone, but could only score one goal against Ken Appelby.

Dal Colle was our number three ranked prospect in our February rankings.  Here is what I wrote about him at the time:

3) Michael Dal Colle, LW, Oshawa Generals (6’2″ 180 lbs): Played on Oshawa’s top line, and produced 48 points in 63 games on a deep Generals squad last season.  In the summer he won gold at the Hlinka.  This year Dal Colle and the Generals have been a huge story to start the year as they are leading the OHL’s Eastern Conference, and running away with the Eastern Division.  Dal Colle has been a huge part of that leading the team with 32 goals and 73 points in 51 games. Dal Colle has shown an excellent ability to play the cycle game protecting the puck down low, and making quick, smart passes.  When given openings he drove the net and showed soft hands in close, and ability to beat defenders and goaltenders one on one.  He’s a power winger who is strong on his skates and also isn’t afraid to bulldoze through a defender if necessary.  Willing to take a hit to make a play, but also unfraid to dish them out.  Dal Colle can only improve as he adds more strength.

As an update after last night, Dal Colle now has 35 goals and 88 points in 63 games.  He again showed off those great hands as his stickhandling is at an A+ level.  He is very good at controlling the puck through the neutral zone, and at keeping it away from opponents in the offensive end.  His smart, quick passing was also on full display, as well as his skating.  He has a good stride which provides him with very good top end speed and excellent acceleration.  With the playoffs coming up, Dal Colle has a chance to really solidify his spot as a top 5, and possibly top 3 pick if he can help the Generals to go on a good run.

I was able to talk to Dal Colle after the game.

 

LWOS: Hello Michael, Thank you for doing this.  

Michael Dal Colle:  Thank you for having me.

LWOS: Michael you guys came up with a big 4-1 win, tell us a little bit about your thoughts on the game tonight.

MDC: I think it was obviously a pretty good outing for us.  We got off to a great start out there and potted four goals pretty quick. We tried to trap up the rest of the game, and were able to hold them to just one goal. It was a big win for us tonight, definitely.

LWOS: Tonight, you were playing on a line with Cole Cassels and Dylan Smoskowitz, who came over from the Steelheads in a mid-season trade.  How have you found it adjusting to a new linemate at mid-season?

MDC: He’s a great player, and was a huge acquisition for us at the trade deadline. He’s an older guy who has been great with the young guys, and is a big team player. Obviously he’s been scoring a lot of goals for us lately, and he’s been a great acquisition who’s helped the team, and will continue to help us in the playoffs.

LWOS: After last season, the Generals lost a lot of talent.  While this is often the case in the OHL, how have you personally made the transition from a talented rookie to fill some of the holes and be a leader for your team?

MDC: Looking at last year’s team we lost a ton of guys, a lot of scoring in Biggsy (Tyler Biggs), (Boone) Jenner, (Lucas) Lessio, top end guys who are now off to the pros.  It was a bigger role for me, right from the start of the season, and thats given me the opportunity to try and be more of a leader. I’m trying to encourage the young guys, and share my experience because I was in their position last year as well.

LWOS: In your own words can you describe your game for us, and let us know if there is any NHL player or players you try to model your game after?

MDC: My favorite player is Evgeni Malkin, he’s been my favorite for a long time. I love the way he plays.  He’s dominant offensively on the puck, and its hard to get him off of it. He’s a very highly-skilled player and someone I look up to. That said the best NHL comparison to model my own game after is to try and be more like Eric Staal, a solid two-way player who is strong on the puck, and likes to create offence for his team.

LWOS: Last but not least, the Generals are in first place and getting ready for the OHL playoffs.  What do you have to do over the next couple of weeks to be ready to make a long run this spring?

MDC: We are trying to close it out and close out first.  We were underdogs coming into the season, and to be in first place with six games left its huge for us, and these next six games are big for us.  We want to clinch first, and be playing good hockey so that we can go on a long playoff run. We need to be ready to do whatever it takes to win. 

LWOS: Thanks a lot Michael and good luck in the playoffs and at the draft.

MDC: Thank you very much.

 

You can follow Michael Dal Colle on Twitter (@MDalColle71) the Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) and at their official website oshawagenerals.com.

 

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