It’s hard to believe that only 4 years ago, people were dreaming of Michael Dal Colle on John Tavares’ wing scoring 40 goals a season. In 2018, those dreams are over, and not just because Pajama Boy left. Dal Colle’s development has not been as expected. After seasons of 39 and 42 goals with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL, Dal Colle looked like a surefire sniper. Then, he was sent back to the OHL for his draft+2 season, where he struggled to produce with Oshawa. He was traded to the Kingston Frontenacs and went back to his point-producing ways, but his time with Oshawa signaled that something might be wrong.
The biggest knock on Dal Colle’s game was his below average skating, and he was able to hide that with strong production. When the production goes away, there isn’t a whole lot to like about his game, and that’s his biggest problem. On the other hand, it seems like his production was often due to having a great center as a linemate. With Bridgeport and with his few Islanders games, he hasn’t been playing with great centers. It’s hard to say that he’s earned that first line ice time though, and 7 goals in 60 AHL games is abysmal, as he was outscored by just about everyone of note on the Sound Tigers.
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With only 22 goals and 65 points in 135 games over two AHL seasons, and 4 NHL games where he was practically invisible on the ice, it’s safe to say that he won’t be the goal scoring winger the Islanders were waiting for. It’s especially tough to see him struggle when all but one player picked in the first round of the 2014 draft besides him have at least scored 1 NHL point.
The 22-year-old just hasn’t been able to put it together in the pro game, and with his ELC expiring at the end of this season, it’s a make or break year. It’s possible that a fresh organizational outlook and some increased focus on making Bridgeport competitive will help Dal Colle get his career back on track, but a lot of the shine has worn off in the past two years.
LHH Commenter BA_27 (ranked Dal Colle 18):
What a fall from grace. It's extremely unfortunate, but Dal Colle's ceiling at this point appears to be fourth-liner or perennial AHL player, which is not what we had in mind when we drafted him at 5th overall in 2014. That spot in the draft is officially cursed for the Islanders (Niederreiter and Strome precede him as disappointments at number 5).
Few expect MDC to ever meet his draft day expectations. I'm hoping he can at least be refurbished as a big, physical bottom 6 winger. His shot is still NHL level, but he seems to lack the speed to get himself into position to use it.