NY Islanders fans are reminded of the 2014 NHL Draft ahead of Stanley Cup Final

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

First-round picks failing to live up to their hype is nothing new. Every draft in every sport will produce a handful of "busts," players that fall well short of their lofty draft day expectations. Some turn into role players with lengthy careers, while others struggle to stick at the NHL level, often given more time to develop because of where they were drafted by the organization.

As we approach the start of the Stanley Cup Final, images of the top four picks of the 2014 NHL draft have been circulating on social media. Why? That's because all four players, Aaron Ekblad (FLA), Sam Reinhart (BUF), Leon Draisaitl (EDM), and Sam Bennett (CGY) will be participating.

The 5th pick, as New York Islanders fans know, was Michael Dal Colle. It's been 10 years later, and the selection of Dal Colle continues to stand out as one of the bigger draft day missed opportunities in recent team history. At this point, that has nothing to do with Dal Colle. It's just that rarely can you look back at a draft as stacked as the one in 2014 and keep seeing the players selected around him keep improving and making bigger impacts.

Most often, fans are reminded that Islanders passed over William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers, who were selected 8th and 9th, but as you scroll down the rest of the first, you see player after player that has carved out a very good, if not great, NHL career. That list includes stars Dylan Larkin and David PastrÅˆĂ¡k but also players like Kevin Fiala, Jakub Vrana, Alex Tuch, and others.

Long Island's Sonny Milano was taking in the first round as was Nicholas Ritchie. Of the 32 players selected, only five played in less than the 112 NHL games played by Dal Colle, and one of them was Josh Ho-Sang, the team's other first-rounder that year.

Of course, it's important to note that it wasn't viewed as a reach by GM Garth Snow to draft him at the time. Dal Colle was NHL Central Scouting's fifth-ranked skater in North America after a 95-point (39 goals, 56 assists) season for the Oshawa Generals. The rumor was the team was looking to trade for an NHL player but ended up staying put and drafting the LW to add to their stockpile of young forwards. "This is a dream come true," Dal Colle said on Draft Day. "I'm excited about our depth. We're an up-and-coming young team. I'm sure I will fit in really well. "I already received calls from John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and a text from Josh Bailey."

Snow did redeem himself by drafting both Ilya Sorokin and Devon Toews in the later rounds.

Dal Colle last played for the Islanders during the 2021-22 season, skating in one game. He showed value playing in the Barry Trotz system and even skated in some playoff games for the team, but he couldn't solidify himself as a consistent option as a bottom-six forward. He continues to play professionally in Deutsche Eishockey Liga or DEL, a German professional league, and put up strong numbers last season, scoring 16 goals and 29 assists in 50 games.