After winning a Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals last season, New York Islanders’ prospect Michael Dal Colle is hoping to make the leap to the National Hockey League this season rather than return to the OHL.
Dal Colle, the Islanders’ first-round pick (fifth overall) in 2014, scored 42 goals and 93 points in 56 games with the Generals last season. He added 31 points in 21 playoff games as Oshawa captured its fifth Memorial Cup in franchise history.
“Anytime you win a championship, it’s a great feeling,” Islanders’ coach Jack Capuano said per NHL.com. “Obviously everybody’s in it for the same reason, to win, and we want to win a Stanley Cup. But he’s got a little taste of what it takes to win a championship, and that’s what you want. You want guys that like to win and are real disappointed when things don’t go your way.”
Because of his age, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward will have to return to Oshawa, if he is unable to crack the Islanders’ lineup this season.
The 19-year-old is focused on spending the 2015-16 season with the Islanders.
“In my mind, I think I have a chance,” Dal Colle said. “I’m going to do my best to make that chance a real possibility. That’s definitely going to be my goal going into (this) season.”
Depending on how his training camp goes, GM Garth Snow admitted Dal Colle could earn a nine-game audition at the start of the season.
“He’s a huge part of this team, obviously,” Snow told NHL.com. “The luxury we have now is we’ve been so fortunate in the drafts that we’ve had is we have a tremendous amount of depth at all positions.
“We’ll never discount any young player from making our club out of training camp. Really, Michael’s performance will dictate that. That’s why you have training camp: It gives every team an opportunity to see how players perform at the highest level.”
Given the depth the Islanders currently have in their forward mix, Dal Colle will in tough to make New York’s opening night roster, but he understands the situation.
“It’s part of the process,” Dal Colle said. “Tons of great players have gone through it, a guy like Ryan Strome had to play four years in juniors as well. But obviously that’s not my mindset. I want to play this year and I’m going to do everything I can to hopefully get my chance.”