BRIDGEPORT, CT — It was less than 24 hours ago that Michael Dal Colle was inside the Bridgeport Sound Tigers locker room at Webster Bank Arena after the Sound Tigers had fallen to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Now the former fifth overall pick was called up by the Islanders on an emergency recall, along with Anthony Beauvillier and Sebastian Aho.
It is the first time the once highly touted prospect has been called up since he turned pro and comes after a quiet first half of the year for Dal Colle down in the American Hockey League. Dal Colle has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) — tied for fourth on the Sound Tigers — through the first 34 games of the season.
“I think he’s progressing in the right direction,” Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson said about Dal Colle. The comments came before the Islanders recalled Dal Colle on Thursday. “Everyone has a different path and Michael’s might be a little longer than Beau’s. Each player has a different timetable and there’s no rushing. I think he’s taken steps in the right direction.”
Thompson added that Dal has had a good effort level, has been very coachable and that he’s more engaged physically.
Dal Colle had his chances to score on Wednesday when the Sound Tigers hosted Hartford and finished the night with an assist on Bridgeport’s only goal of the night. The effort came with a handful of Islanders brass in attendance, including general manager Garth Snow, director of player development Eric Cairnes and co-owner Jon Ledecky.
“I felt pretty good. I think our line had a few good chances,” Dal Colle told Islanders Insight. “I would have liked to score a couple more goals. Their goalie played well, give him credit. He had some nice saves. I’d like to bear down offensively, but I think our line played pretty well.
Dal Colle played on a line with Travis St. Denis and Anthony Beauvillier.
While Dal Colle finally earned his first call-up to the NHL on Thursday, it has been an up and down road to that moment. And Dal Colle has watched as others have earned NHL playing time over him.
The forward was cut during training camp last season, while Beauvillier made the opening night roster and played the entire year at the NHL level. Then later in the year, Josh Ho-Sang earned a call-up instead of Dal Colle. Tanner Fritz made his NHL debut when he earned an NHL call-up this season.
Dal Colle has taken the ups and downs in stride and Thompson saw a noticeable change when the two had a discussion about a month ago.
” We discussed about you can’t control what other people are doing around you,” Thompson explained. “You can only control what you control and I think after that conversation he really took it to heart. He’s been doing the extra things in the weight room, the extra things on the ice and I think he’s in a good spot mentally.”
At the moment, that would appear to be the case for Dal Colle.
“I’m confident in my abilities and I think if I buy in and play the right way my time will come,” Dal Colle said. “I’m happy where I’m at in my game. Still a lot of things to improve in all aspects and I think I’m doing that. I’m happy right now with my game and hopefully I can continue that.”