The New York Islanders made a handful of moves this morning, first sending Michael Dal Colle back to the minor leagues. The team has also recalled Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey from their respective conditioning stints, though neither have actually been activated from injured reserve yet. Dal Colle was one of the Islanders only waiver-exempt forwards, but his assignment still only leaves them with a single free roster spot. The team will have to make another move to open room in order to activate both Ladd and Hickey.
Dal Colle, 22, has played 20 games with the Islanders this season, his first taste of anything close to regular action since being drafted. The fifth-overall pick from 2014 seems to have turned a corner in his development and is a much more polished player overall. In the AHL where he has played 29 games, he has recorded 16 goals and 28 points. For now he’ll return to a line with Josh Ho-Sang and Tanner Fritz, but it won’t be much of a surprise to see him back up with the Islanders before long.
Meanwhile, the return of Hickey especially will be a big one for the Islanders. The 30-year old defenseman hasn’t played since December 17th but is normally a huge part of the team’s blue line. A solid two-way player, Hickey drives possession numbers and will feel like a big trade deadline acquisition whenever he gets back into the lineup. Ladd has been out even longer, but after a pair of underwhelming seasons in New York it’s unclear what he’ll bring to the table for the team. At the very least, the 33-year old forward is an exceptional leader and has experience in several different roles.