In three games this season, New York Islanders forward Michael Dal Colle has played in the top-six. For three games now he hasn’t stood out. Now what?
The New York Islanders are looking to get more offensive out of their lineup from last season. Guys like Michael Dal Colle were going to be given an increased role and asked to do something with it in 2019-20.
So far in this short season, he hasn’t done much with it. Sure, it’s still early but it’s not early enough for Barry Trotz to change things around with the roster.
So does Michael Dal Colle deserve that top-six spot?
He Hasn’t Been Bad
In three games this season Dal Colle has been given top-six minutes by Barry Trotz. He started the season on the left-wing with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey but has since been moved to the right-wing, deliberately by Barry Trotz.
Through three games he has zero points and two shots on goal. It’s easy to focus on that alone. I’ve certainly been guilty of that. I’ve seen him play and I look at those numbers and I see a player that isn’t doing much with the opportunity he’s been given.
But, what about his underlying numbers? Is there something that Dal Colle is doing that I’m not seeing? Here are some of Dal Colle’s numbers compared to the rest of the Islanders forwards. (All numbers are relative and only for 5on5).
*All stats thanks to NaturalStatTrick
Aside from his expected goals, Michael Dal Colle ranks in the bottom half for all forwards on the team. His shot generation metrics (CF and FF) are in the bottom quarter of the team. So are the number of high-danger chances he creates versus allowed.
The only positive here is expected goals for. He ranks fourth on the team behind Anthony Beauvillier, Derick Brassard, and Leo Komarov. Those three players already have points on the season, Brassard being the only one with fewer than two. While Dal Colle has none.
To me, that shows a player who is getting good opportunities but is being wasteful with them.
Am I being too harsh? Mathew Barzal has a -11.12 relative xGF% at 5on5 this season. I don’t think I am being too harsh on Dal Colle.
Unfortunately for him, his position on the roster is far from guaranteed (unlike Mathew Barzal). He’s got to prove he can make the best of the opportunity that he’s being given. So far, he hasn’t.
It’s true that he’s being asked to play a role he’s hasn’t played before, and, according to Barry Trotz, Dal Colle is having systemic issues with the adjustment. Hopefully, he figures it out. He’s had a hard time getting to the NHL and now that he’s finally here there wouldn’t be anything better than seeing him make good on that opportunity.
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He’s likely going to get a bit more time from Barry Trotz to adjust to his new role. But his window of opportunity is certainly closing rather than opening. Like Arthur Staple alluded to in his piece on Wednesday (subscription required), a change could be coming for the Isles, and soon.
With the way Anthony Beauvillier has been playing it wouldn’t surprise me if he takes that top-six spot from Dal Colle.