It's not easy for a young player to get that tap on the shoulder that says he'll have to put his NHL dreams on hold for a year while he goes back to his junior hockey team. Fortunately, it appears Michael Dal Colle has rebounded nicely after being sent home from Islanders training camp, and will serve as Oshawa Generals' captain this season.
Many pegged the 19-year-old as a strong candidate to stick with the big club for a potential nine-game trial period, if not for the entire season. But on Tuesday, Dal Colle and 2015 first rounder Anthony Beauvillier (who will also captain his junior team in Shawinigan this season) were returned to the CHL for another year. Instead of them, No. 16 pick from 2015 Mathew Barzal is the kid getting the extra long orientation tour.
Bummed as Dal Colle might be/have been, the Islanders leadership has had nothing but good things to say about his play and his attitude.
"I think with Mike he's just incredibly responsible and aware away from the puck," said John Tavares, who like Dal Colle starred for Oshawa in juniors. "He's got abilities that I certainly didn't have when I was his age. There's nothing for Mike to be down about. You just look at Ryan [Strome], who went back to juniors twice and it didn't hurt his development one bit."
Even without a secure spot on the NHL roster, Dal Colle was already helping the "younger players" along by relaying his previous camp experience to Barzal, his roommate.
Dal Colle had 41 goals and 51 assists last season for Oshawa, but gives the team even more of what they're looking for.
"It was an easy choice, he is one of our guys who has been here the longest, he is one of our highest draft picks, he is our leading scorer, and he has won a Memorial Cup," says Head Coach Bob Jones.
Other captains in Generals history include Joe Cirella, Boone Jenner, Bobby Orr and Tavares.
tl;dr: The kid's gonna be alright.