This season may be the last chance for Michael Dal Colle to prove that he can still be considered one of the New York Islanders top prospects, and now he’ll get an opportunity to show his skills at the NHL level. With the team dealing with injuries to Matt Martin, Andrew Ladd and Casey Cizikas—all three have been moved to injured reserve—they’ve decided to recall Dal Colle and Stephen Gionta from the AHL.
Dal Colle, 22, was selected fifth overall in the 2014 draft ahead of such established stars as William Nylander (8th), Nikolaj Ehlers (9th), Dylan Larkin (15th) and David Pastrnak (25th), and many other players making their mark in the NHL. Unfortunately, he has yet to work out for the Islanders and is still waiting to register his first NHL point. In fact, last season Dal Colle registered just 24 points in 60 AHL contests and finished behind three defensemen in scoring on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The 6’3″ forward hasn’t been able to find the offensive touch that led him to be so desirable in junior, though this season is off to a nice start. In 14 games with the Sound Tigers Dal Colle has 14 points, and may be finally rounding into form.
Still, he likely won’t get into the Islanders lineup tonight and will have to battle hard to change the early moniker of “draft bust” that has been applied to him somewhat prematurely. Big powerful forwards can often take a little longer to develop, and perhaps all Dal Colle needed was a little seasoning before becoming a difference maker in the NHL. The team could use one right now as they deal with injury to three physical players, especially given Dal Colle’s puck skills and still present offensive upside. The team is off to a better than expected start, and could use another secondary scoring option to push them over the top this season.