Mathew Barzal is not the Islanders’ only All-Star selection, though for Michael Dal Colle, if he is able to play well enough to remain with the Isles, he’ll miss the AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 28 in Springfield, Massachusetts, after being picked for the first time.
Dal Colle, 22, the fifth overall pick in 2014, likely will remain in the streaking Islanders’ lineup for the fourth straight game when they face the Blues on Saturday night at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, even though top-line right wing Jordan Eberle is ready to return from an upper-body injury.
“Every time he’s come up to the NHL, he’s looked more comfortable,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “I have a good trust in his game. His wall play and the pace of his game has increased since training camp. He looks like a confident young man.”
Eberle was activated off injured reserve Friday and center Valtteri Filppula (upper body) was placed on IR retroactive to Monday.
Dal Colle remained on Leo Komarov’s left wing at the team’s practice in East Meadow. The new third line was completed by Josh Ho-Sang, who had taken Eberle’s spot on the top line. Eberle resumed skating with center Brock Nelson and captain Anders Lee.
Dal Colle, in his second stint with the Islanders this season, has one assist in five games after going without a point in his first four NHL games last season.
He has 16 goals and 12 assists in 28 games for Bridgeport and learned he had been named an AHL All-Star on Thursday.
“Every time you’re up here, every shift, you want to prove that you belong, that you can play at this level,” Dal Colle said. “Last year wasn’t a great year for me. I think I’ve bounced back really nicely and really developed this year.”
Dal Colle, a prolific scorer in juniors with Oshawa and then with Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League, was held to seven goals and 17 assists in 60 games for Bridgeport last season.
“It was a long offseason for me,” Dal Colle said. “I got a lot stronger, spent a lot of time in the gym. It’s the most time I’ve ever been in the gym. Going into training camp, I felt good and it’s gone on into the season.”
One knock has been Dal Colle’s skating, but Trotz said he can use his strength on the puck to his advantage.
“He can skate in this league,” Trotz said. “Guys that aren’t necessarily great skaters have got to train a little differently. He’s got good strength on the puck.”
Notes & quotes: Center Casey Cizikas received a maintenance day off from practice, but Trotz said he will be available against the Blues . . . Defenseman Thomas Hickey (injured reserve, upper body) skated but did not travel with the team.