PHILADELPHIA – The New York Islanders held onto the No. 5 pick in the NHL draft, and came away with forward Michael Dal Colle on Friday night.
The 18-year-old Ontario native had 39 goals and 56 assists in 67 games this season with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-1 winger added eight goals and 12 assists in 12 playoff games. He was chosen for the OHL’s second All-Star team.
Dal Colle joins a young core of forwards with the Islanders, who failed to make the playoffs this season after qualifying in 2013.
“This is dream come true,” Dal Colle said. “I’m excited about our depth. We’re an up and coming young team. I’m sure I will fit in really well.
“I already received calls from John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, and a text from Josh Bailey.”
The Islanders not only kept their own first-round selection, but they acquired the 28th choice from the Tampa Bay Lightning for picks No. 35 (2nd round) and No. 57 (3rd round) and chose Joshua Ho-Sang—a forward from Windsor of the OHL.
The Lightning had gotten pick No. 28 from the New York Rangers in the trade-deadline deal that sent Martin St. Louis to New York and moved Ryan Callahan to Tampa Bay.
Ho-Sang led Windsor with 85 points in 67 regular-season games, and tied for the team lead with 32 goals.
During the 2012-13 season, Dal Colle was chosen for the OHL All-Rookie first team after posting 15 goals and 33 assists in 63 games with Oshawa. He also played for Canada-Ontario at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Islanders, who were plagued by injuries last season—the most glaring being a season-ending knee injury for captain Tavares sustained at the Sochi Olympics—went 34-37-11 and missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.
“Drafting a player of Michael’s calibre is another building block in what is an important off-season for the organization,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “We’re excited to see him develop into another key piece of our core. Michael has top-end offensive skill, paired with two-way instincts and hockey sense, which are assets we are thrilled to add to the Islanders.”
Dal Colle was the seventh No. 5 pick in Islanders history. The most recent before Friday was Ryan Strome in 2011, following Nino Niederreiter a year earlier.
“I want to play here next year,” Dal Colle said. “I feel ready.”