After being chosen fifth overall by the New York Islanders in 2014, Michael Dal Colle has appeared in only four games with the NHL’s Islanders. His slow development has left many fans on Long Island to be scratching their heads.
Is it time to move on from Michael Dal Colle?
A new era is beginning in New York, and it is time to decide whether Michael Dal Colle belongs as a part of it.
Following his selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, the OHL’s Oshawa Generals welcomed Dal Colle back for the 2014-2015 season. He put up career-high goal numbers on his way to both an OHL and CHL title. Dal Colle would lead the Generals in all three offensive categories with 43 goals and 51 assists for 94 points. Dal Colle would score in his first game back with the Generals against the Kitchener Rangers.
The following season the Islanders decided to return Dal Colle to the OHL for his final season, split between the Oshawa Generals and the Kingston Frontenacs. Dal Colle would put up another 80 points that season. The AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers called Dal Colle up for three games, after a shortened postseason run with the Frontenacs.
Michael Dal Colle Turns Pro
Dal Colle would make his full-time pro debut at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season with the Sound Tigers. In his first full season in the AHL, Dal Colle put up what many would deem to be respectable numbers. Totalling 41 points over 72 games, it appeared that maybe the time spent in the OHL was finally beginning to pay off.
However, in his second full season spent with the Sound Tigers, Dal Colle took a step backward in his development. Dal Colle appeared in only 60 games. His point totals also took a hit, finishing with just 24 points, 17 fewer than a season before.
Usually, offensive numbers mean very little regarding a player being deemed an NHL ready forward. In the case of Michael Dal Colle, the numbers are significant.
5th Overall Comparisons
Other notable fifth overall selections during the time in and around Dal Colle being drafted include Noah Hanifin (2015), Ryan Strome (2011), Nino Niederreiter (2010).
All three of the players mentioned above became full-time NHL players almost immediately after their junior careers. They spent little, if any, time in the AHL.
Fast-forward to the same point in their careers that Dal Colle has now reached, (three years removed from the minors) all three players have become significant to their clubs.
Noah Hannifin became a staple on the blueline of the Carolina Hurricanes right out of the draft. Hannifin has played consistent minutes and has only missed seven games over the last three seasons. This summer he was involved in a big trade to the Calgary Flames.
By 2014, Ryan Strome cracked the New York Islanders roster full-time. This included playing in 81 games and scoring 51 points during his first full season with the team.
Finally, Nino Niederreiter also cracked an NHL roster on a full-time basis with the Minnesota Wild by 2013. Niederreiter appeared in 81 games and scored 36 points for the Wild.
As mentioned, Michael Dal Colle, at the same point in his career, has only played in four career games with the Islanders.
The 2018-2019 season appears to be the final chance for the 22-year old forward to make his move. The Islanders are very clearly going younger, spear-headed by Calder Trophy-winning rookie Mathew Barzal. Dal Colle fits the new mould but will need to earn his spot on the roster.
Many fans have already given up on Michael Dal Colle. The 2018-2019 season seems to be the final opportunity to dispell the rumours of “busted pick”. Extremely motivated, Dal Colle should look to highlight his best qualities desirable for top-level hockey moving forward.
Many fans have seen him rise to the occasion during his junior years. Now, he will be under heavy watch to see if he can do the same at the pro level.
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