Heading into his age 24 season, and his third year in the NHL, how many more chances does Michael Dal Colle get with the Islanders?
Michael Dal Colle’s Islanders career has been a weird one. He was drafted fifth overall in 2014, but after six years and just 85 NHL games under his belt, the goalposts, and expectations for Dal Colle have clearly changed.
After playing in 28 games in 2018-2019, Dal Colle stayed up with the Islanders for the entirety of the 2019-2020 season. He played in 53 games, averaging 11:48 of ice time while putting up 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists).
Of forwards who played 15 or more games, only Ross Johnston, Matt Martin, and Tom Kuhnhackl averaged less ice time than him. With Dal Colle, he’s an interesting case study, even if you take out the fifth overall pick status from your head.
Dal Colle’s advanced numbers weren’t pretty as he had a 43.16 CF%, fourth lowest for forwards who played more than 15 games, and a 44.13 xGF% which was second-lowest to only Tom Kuhnhackl.
In short, he gave the Islanders virtually nothing offensively. Defensively, he’s okay. Nothing more or nothing less. According to Evolving Hockey, Michael Dal Colle had a -0.6 WAR on the 2019-2020 season and his 0.1 WAR for his career.
So with his lackluster play during the 2019-2020 regular season, it’s no surprise that he didn’t get much of a look in the playoffs. Dal Colle played in three playoff games and didn’t get more than 10:42 in ice time per game.
Will he get a regular spot in the lineup in 2021? My guess is no. There seems to be two spots open on the third line with Michael Dal Colle, Leo Komarov, Kieffer Bellows, and Oliver Wahlstrom in the mix for the starting role.
I would assume that it’s going to be one of the kids and Leo Komarov leaving Michael Dal Colle as a healthy scratch. I don’t know if you can afford to keep someone like Dal Colle in the lineup, who doesn’t play on the power play, doesn’t score goals, doesn’t play on the penalty kill, or doesn’t take faceoffs. Literally, his role is about nine to 11 minutes of mediocre 5v5 play and that’s it.
MDC is in the final year of a two-year $1.4 million contract. He’ll be an RFA after this year so maybe you bring him back on the cheap (less than a million) to play on the fourth line for 2021-2022. And that’s the best-case scenario.
Right now, assuming that Matt Martin is returning for this year, I really don’t see him getting a regular role on this team. The clock is ticking for a player like Dal Colle, and we got our first hint of that in the playoffs when he was parked in the press box for a majority of the run.