Islanders take winger Michael Dal Colle with No. 5 pick
PHILADELPHIA - The Islanders looked to trade their No. 5 pick in the NHL draft Friday night to help the team right away, but instead used it to grab a big winger.
Then they did pull off a deal with Tampa Bay to grab another first-round pick.
Garth Snow searched for a current NHL player in exchange for the fifth pick but found the offers too weak, so he selected left wing Michael Dal Colle.
Late in the night, Snow sent the two second-round picks he had, Nos. 35 and 57 -- the latter obtained in the Thomas Vanek deal with the Canadiens -- to obtain the Lightning's 28th overall pick, and he used it to select forward Joshua Ho-Sang.
The 6-2, 182-pound Dal Colle had 39 goals and 56 assists for Oshawa of the Ontario League, John Tavares' junior club. Dal Colle, 18, was the top-rated wing among the elite prospects in this draft and the Islanders are thin at wing in their organization.
"I kind of had a gut feeling I was going here if I was available," Dal Colle said. "I think I'll fit in well. They need some depth on left wing and I can fit in."
Dal Colle received welcoming calls from Tavares and Kyle Okposo and a text from Josh Bailey minutes after being selected. He isn't likely to do more this season than spend a few weeks with those Islanders veterans at training camp, but Dal Colle is the sort of solid player and solid character the Islanders have long coveted.
He spoke at length before the draft about some of his family's struggles -- his mother, Wendy, is a breast cancer survivor and his older brother, Jonluca, is autistic. Both were on hand at Wells Fargo Center Friday night to see Michael selected.
"My whole family is what drives me, every day," Michael Dal Colle said. "Everything I do in hockey is for them."
Friday was purported to be a day for dealing, with the Panthers shopping the top pick in advance of the draft. Florida held on to the pick and selected Aaron Ekblad, the highest-rated defense prospect coming into the draft.
When form held and the next three picks were all centers -- Sam Reinhart, Islanders prospect Griffin's brother, went to the Sabres at No. 2; the Oilers chose big Leon Draisaitl at No. 3 and the Flames took Sam Bennett at No. 4 -- the Islanders were left with the best winger available.
Snow did make a deal, just not the one he'd been looking for at the top of the first round. Much as he did in 2010, when the Isles held the No. 5 pick and used a pair of second-rounders to trade into the end of the first round and pick up Brock Nelson at No. 30, Snow flipped his two second-rounders for a chance to draft Ho-Sang, who had 32 goals and 53 assists for Windsor of the OHL this past season.
The 5-11, 175-pound Ho-Sang, who grew up in Toronto with a Jamaican father and Chilean mother, has elite-level talent but dropped in the prospect rankings from the middle of the year to the end.