Player: Michael Dal Colle
Drafted By: New York Islanders (5th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 5 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'2'', 171 lbs
DOB: June 20, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: OHL, Oshawa Generals
Michael Dal Colle was heavily pursued by both the CHL and the NCAA following a stellar midget career that saw him post 44 goals and 34 assists in his last season with the Vaughan Kings minor midget AAA team.
He chose to go the junior hockey route, and the Richmond Hill, Ontario native didn't seem to miss a beat while transitioning from the AAA level to the OHL. Dal Colle produced 48 points as a rookie and was sixth in team scoring for the Oshawa Generals, trailing the likes of Boone Jenner, Scott Laughton and Tyler Biggs during the 2012-13 campaign.
Dal Colle erupted this season, nearly doubling his point total as he climbed the prospect rankings as the year progressed.
Full Scouting Report
One of a handful of intriguing setup men available in this year's draft, Dal Colle is recognized as one of the best puck handlers around. He's able to lose defenders with his agility and puck control, and that's just the start.
Shawn Reznik from TheHockeyWriters.com describes the center this way:
Dal Colle is a rangy, gifted center with hands that can dangle in a phone booth. He dazzles with the puck on his stick and can weave through defenses with ease. Given his stickhandling ability, Dal Colle is also one of the premier set-up men available. He knows where his teammates are at all times and passes with precision. His skill also comes with a mesmerizing wrist shot that he isn’t afraid to use. His wrister is fast, accurate, and deadly. And although he doesn't use his slap shot as often, that too is lethal for opposing goalies.
The 6-foot-2 forward is capable of playing both centre and the wing and possesses impressive puck protection skills and offensive zone creativity that project well on his ability to be a big-time producer at the next level.... his elusiveness, stickhandling ability, and long reach create matchup problems for any OHL defenseman.
If Sam Reinhart is the smartest player available in the draft, then Dal Colle might have the best set of mitts.
NHL Player Comparison
He has a lot of muscle to pack on before he reaches this level, but Dal Colle could eventually evolve into a physical center along the lines of Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes. He might not ever have quite as much power in his game, but the ability to finish in close reminds some of Carolina's big pivot.
NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr sees Dal Colle as a Ryan Getzlaf-type of player, according to NHL.com. If he reaches either of those ceilings, his new team will be quite happy with this selection.
Forwards that rely on strength and stick-handling to get to the net can sometimes struggle to adapt to the NHL level right away. Trying to slip a puck between Zdeno Chara's legs is quite different from anything a player will run into at the junior level.
It's clear that Dal Colle is comfortable competing in the OHL, and he may not have a lot left to prove there, but another year with the Generals would give him more time to get stronger. He should be NHL ready by the 2015-16 campaign.
Power forward types like Getzlaf are tough to come by, and Dal Colle possesses an interesting skill set. He's got the size to drive to the net—or at least he'll be big enough to not get pushed around—but the soft hands are there as well.
Dal Colle has always been a slick goal scorer, but he's shown steady improvement in the defensive end this year. Tack on his growing awareness of the players around him, and there's a possibility that the 18-year-old could evolve into one of the more dangerous multipurpose players in the NHL.
At worst, Dal Colle projects cleanly as an above-average No. 2 center that could score upwards of 60 points.