Michael Dal Colle started the season in Bridgeport for his fourth straight season. The potential of him turning from the 5th overall pick in the 2014 draft to a career AHLer was very possible, but Dal Colle made sure that his career wouldn’t be labeled as a “bust.”
The twenty-two year old had an amazing start to the 2018-19 season in the AHL, scoring fifteen points in fifteen games while playing alongside Joshua Ho-Sang. On Nov. 15, Dal Colle got called up for the first time this season following injuries to Andrew Ladd and Casey Cizkas. He didn’t stay for long, as he only appeared in two games before being sent back down on Nov. 24. Despite being sent down due to Cizikas’ return, head coach Barry Trotz praised Dal Colle, saying “he’s played a trustworthy game.”
Dal Colle would continue to be dominant in the AHL, scoring twenty-eight points in twenty-eight games before finally being called up once again. He was recalled back to the Islanders on December 29th for their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This game was certainly full of headlines, including Mat Barzal’s hat trick, Robin Lehner’s shutout, and the Islanders utter dominance against Tavares and his new team. One that was overlooked was Dal Colle recording his first career NHL point in front of his hometown crowd in Ontario. Dal Colle also played for the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League, which made it fitting for him to record it that night.
Micheal would finally score his first NHL goal on Jan. 17 in a 4-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils at NYCB Live. His goal came in the first period with 10:41 remaining. Dal Colle’s first goal was a feel good moment, as the amount of hard work and obstacles he came over finally paid off for the twenty-two year old.
“Maybe he was a player lacking a little bit of confidence,” Trotz said. “I think he’s got pace back into his game. He’s got size. He’s got a lot of things you look for.” when talking about Dal Colle’s play the next day.
He would stay with the Islanders for the remainder of their games until the All-Star break, where he and Devon Toews were both loaned down to Bridgeport to play a small handful of games while the rest of the NHLers got to enjoy their week off. Another reason Dal Colle was loaned was because he was selected for the AHL All-Star Game.
When the break was over, Dal Colle was called back up to the NHL roster to nobody’s surprise, and he continued to log minutes on the third line alongside veterans Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula. In his second game back from the break, Dal Colle would score the biggest goal in his career, notching the game winner against the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 2 at NYCB Live. If you would have predicted in September that Dal Colle would score a huge game-winning goal for the Metropolitan division leading New York Islanders in February, people would have laughed in your face, but times have clearly changed for both the Islanders organization and for Dal Colle.
Micheal Dal Colle has had a stellar season in both the AHL and NHL. He has shown his relentless forecheck and smart hockey IQ. As he continues to adjust to the NHL level and continues to log minuets with new linemates Barzal and Josh Bailey, his offensive skills will hopefully flourish as time goes on. Regardless of what happens, Micheal Dal Colle has worked hard and improved his played heavily this season, and hopefully it will continue to improve as the Islanders continue on their successful season.