On Monday, we found out that the New York Islanders would not be qualifying forward Michael Dal Colle. That meant the pending restricted free agent will now leave the Islanders and become an unrestricted free agent.
The decision was something of a surprise. Sure, Dal Colle was a replacement-level player on the team, but it seemed that Barry Trotz enjoyed having the former fifth-overall pick in 2014 as a depth piece for the team.
He won’t have him next year.
New York Islanders 2014 first-round picks leave as free agents on same day
With Josh Ho-Sang scheduled to become a group six free agent on July 28th (he didn’t have enough NHL experience to remain as an RFA), it means that both first-round picks from the Islanders 2014 draft class will leave the club as free agents in less than 24 hours.
Remember that draft from seven years ago? That year the Isles picked fifth overall and selected Michael Dal Colle. Now, I know looking back that wasn’t the right pick to make considering that William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers were selected eighth and ninth overall. But at the time Dal Colle was in fact the right pick for fifth overall.
NHL Central Scouting ranked Dal Colle as the fifth skater in North America. With 95 points (39 goals 56 helpers) in 67 games for the Oshawa Generals, Dal Colle seemed like the right player to pick.
The Islanders hoped they had drafted a top-six player who could make even become a top-line scoring forward. That never materialized. After seven years, Dal Colle only managed 21 points over 111 games. Most of that came in 2019-20 when he scored ten points in 53 games.
Josh Ho-Sang was a late pick by the Islanders. Garth Snow traded two second-round picks to move up in over to grab Ho-Sang with the 28th overall pick after his stock fell hard at the draft. Ho-Sang had/has all the talent in the world but had/has a hard time conforming. Garth Snow thought he could get the kid to see things his way. If he was successful, the Islanders would have picked up the steal of the draft with an easy top-six forward.
As you know, Ho-Sang could never conform to play the way the Islanders wanted him to. In 53 career NHL games, Ho-Sang put up 24 points.
Between both Dal Colle and Ho-Sang, the Islanders received a total of 164 games and 74 points at the NHL level. Seventy-three percent of the 2014 first-round picks currently have more than 164 games played. Ouch.
The Islanders first-round haul from 2014 didn’t live up to the hype. Thankfully, they were able to pull Ilya Sorokin in the third round and Devon Toews in the fourth round. If not for those finds the 2014 draft would have been a total bust for the Isles.
Their New York Islanders careers aren’t ending the way they envisioned it when they were drafted seven years ago, but that doesn’t mean the NHL dream is over. Hopefully, both can find a new home somewhere and make good on a new scenery. I wish both of them good luck.