The New York Islanders annual Blue and White Scrimmage took place the other night. Most of the team’s rookies were on display for everyone to see. While still physically there Michael Dal Colle was virtually invisible.
In 2014 NHL Entry Draft the New York Islanders selected Michael Dal Colle fifth overall. Before the draft, Dal Colle had himself a fantastic junior career in the OHL with 143 points in 123 games played.
Since being drafted he added another 173 points in 116 games in the OHL between the Oshawa Generals and Kingston Frontenacs. The New York Islanders looked to have a top notch prospect on their hands.
Last season, after finally being eligible for the AHL, Dal Colle spent the season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers were he was…okay. He put up good numbers with 15 goals and 41 points in 75 games played.
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Good not great. And not enough to merit a call-up to the Isles when injuries started to take their toll near the end of the season. Counterpart Josh Ho-sang was given the honor, and he ran with it.
Now Dal Colle has to find a way to get himself on the coaching staff’s radar. The scrimmage had to be step one in his multi-step plan to get a chance to play in the NHL. Unfortunately, his night didn’t go that well.
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The way the scrimmage was designed, a four on four mini tourney, was perfect for forwards to take over. Something Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal and even Kieffer Bellows took full advantage of. All three were big standouts at what is, in all honesty, an exhibition camp.
Dal Colle didn’t fare well on the day. His grade would have to be ‘okay’ which has been the quantifier that’s followed his post junior career. He’s okay.
Maybe the big three were so good that he just didn’t stand out from behind their shadows. But he still didn’t stand out when he needed to.
Sure, mini-camp isn’t in-and-of-itself going to ruin his hockey career but it’s a continuation of what has been an ongoing theme since he’s made his progression from junior. But it’s not changing the narrative around his growth.
And that’s an issue for Dal Colle. He’s now three years removed from being drafted by the New York Islanders. Now is the time where he should be making strides in the NHL, not toiling for relevancy in the organization.
Garth doesn’t have any tools at his disposal to light a fire under Dal Colle, aside from leaking a trade proposal for him. Sending him to the ECHL doesn’t make sense. He’s been good enough to stay in the AHL. Just not good enough to take the next step up.
There’s a good player in Michael Dal Colle, but as we’ve seen with players like Nail Yakupov, just because they were drafted high isn’t a guarantee they’ll be good enough for the NHL.