Tom Kuhnhackl played over Michael Dal Colle yesterday, and there’s absolutely no reason why the New York Islanders should do that again.
In 23 games with the New York Islanders this year, Michael Dal Colle is obviously beginning to figure it out at the NHL level. He has just five points (2 goals, 3 assists) but he looks much more comfortable out on the ice this year as opposed to last year.
When given the chance, both he and Josh Ho-Sang have been relatively effective when in the lineup. Dal Colle’s 52.5 CF percentage is just above Mathew Barzal for second on the team (below Josh Ho-Sang).
Yesterday, when Casey Cizikas wasn’t good to go for the game the Isles moved down Leo Komarov to take over as the fourth line center. That’s completely fine, Leo Komarov is a competent fourth liner and a bit of a stretch for a third line anyway.
It’s the head-scratching move that Tom Kuhnhackl got playing time over Michael Dal Colle. In 30 games, Kuhnhackl has nine points (4 goals, 5 assists). He’s also got a 43.8 CF percentage to go along with that.
He’s a fourth line/scratchpad player. Dal Colle’s ceiling is way higher than Kuhnhackl so why is he getting ice time? Tom Kuhnhackl isn’t the only one you can make the case for Michael Dal Colle playing over.
Anthony Beauvillier has struggled all year and has seen almost never seen the scratch pad. Why not give him a day and see if Dal Colle’s presence can spark the offense. The Isles have now scored two goals or less in the last four games.
That’s not going to cut it. When Casey Cizikas is healthy maybe the Islanders can try mixing up the lines like so:
Lee – Barzal – Bailey
Dal Colle – Nelson – Eberle
Ladd – Filppula – Komarov
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
The bottom six stays pretty much the same as you would expect, it’s the top two lines that get the shake-up. Lee and Barzal are fantastic together, and adding Bailey to the other side who plays well with Lee makes sense.
The second line features Brock Nelson who has had a very solid 2018-2019 campaign. Eberle on the right wing provides the skill, while Dal Colle can act as the net-front presence. Each of the Islanders top-two lines can feature someone going to the front of the net.
Dal Colle is bigger than Anthony Beauvillier so he would better serve that role. For now, Beau and Ladd can be interchangeable depending on the day with the nod going to Ladd right now who is producing somewhat.
Barry Trotz has to find something that works and fast, the Islanders have 11 games to go and are in the midst of an intense battle for playoff positioning.