Ex-NY Islanders GM Garth Snow shoulders blame for drafting Dal Colle, Ho-Sang

2014 NHL Draft - Round 1
2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Nearly a decade later, the 2014 NHL Draft still generates mixed emotions for New York Islanders fans. The team drafted a Vezina Finalist (Ilya Sorokin at No. 78) and a top-20 NHL defenseman based on recent ratings (Devon Toews at No. 108) who has reached new levels of his game since being traded to the Colorado Avalanche. Nevertheless, it's best remembered for two Garth Snow misses.

With the fifth pick, the long-time Islanders GM drafted a high-character forward with crafty hands but questionable skating in Michael Dal Colle. The Oshawa Generals winger was supposed to be destined for a top-six role-playing with John Tavares or Ryan Strome, but it didn't quite work out that way, did it? Dal Colle struggled to develop in the Isles system but worked hard enough to turn himself into a depth forward who earned praise at times from Barry Trotz in his limited opportunities.

“The Dal Colle one is my fault,” Snow said in a recent interview with the New York Post. “My scouts at the time, they wanted Nikolaj Ehlers.” The Winnipeg Jets selected Ehlers ninth overall, scoring 176 goals and 220 assists in 523 games compared to just eight career goals for Dal Colle in 112 NHL games. Of course, William Nylander went eighth to Toronto, and Dylan Larkin wasn't selected until 15th by the Red Wings, a significant missed opportunity by Snow and the scouting department.

If Dal Colle was a safe pick, the next first-rounder was anything but that. With the 28th pick, the Islanders, despite character concerns, selected a flashy skater with a big personality in Joshua Ho-Sang. “I was the only one on my staff that wanted him at 28," said Snow to beat writer Ethan Sears. "I was the only one on my staff that said, ‘Alright, we’re drafting this guy.’ And they all looked at me like, what are you doing? They were right.”

After 82 points (19 goals, 63 assists) in 66 games season with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL), Ho-Sang has a solid first season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, scoring ten goals and 26 assists in 50 games and made his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season.

Once we drafted him, you always think you can work with someone. You can guide them. You can be either a parent figure or a big brother figure. I credit our player development and all the work they put in. It goes back to you gotta draft character players.
Garth Snow in NY Post

After impressing in 21 games as a rookie, Ho-Sang's career never sustained momentum, and he eventually requested a trade from the organization after spurts and starts and some controversy about his work ethic and attitude. Ho-Sang ultimately landed in the Toronto organization, playing a season for the Marlies of the AHL. Most recently, it's been reported that Ho-Sang is contemplating retirement.