Michael Dal Colle didn’t appear to be on the cusp of his season’s debut as he skated as an extra forward during the Islanders’ practice on Saturday.
But Barry Trotz didn’t sound like a coach about to make Dal Colle, 22, a healthy scratch for the second straight game when the Islanders face the Stars on Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center to conclude a three-game homestand.
“Good chance,” Trotz said when asked if Dal Colle will be in Sunday’s lineup.
Further, there was this response when Trotz was asked what he expects from Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick in 2014, who was recalled from Bridgeport on Thursday.
“I’m going to let him play a little bit and try to find his game,” Trotz said. “Maybe he has his game and he’s great tomorrow and I don’t have to tell him anything other than ‘just keep going, kid.’ I want to see how he plays.”
Still, there’s no guarantee that Dal Colle will find his way into the lineup — or remain with the team for long — with Matt Martin (upper body) nearly ready to be activated off injured reserve and Anthony Beauvillier, 21, snapping out of his scoring funk with his first career hat trick in Thursday night’s 7-5 win over the Rangers.
Beauvillier remained with third-line center Valtteri Filppula and right wing Leo Komarov during Saturday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. If Dal Colle is inserted at left wing on Sunday, it likely will be for Tom Kuhnhackl on Brock Nelson’s second line with Jordan Eberle or for burly Ross Johnston on Stephen Gionta’s fourth line with Cal Clutterbuck.
Dal Colle has seven goals — matching his goal total from last season — and seven assists in 14 games for Bridgeport and has been the Sound Tigers’ most consistent forward after going without a point in his first four NHL games last season.
“I know there are high expectations for Michael for where he was drafted,” Trotz said. “He went down and he earned the right to have the first opportunity to come up here and play. He’s gotten some experience in Bridgeport and he’s feeling very confident. Hopefully, when he gets in the lineup, he can have success.
“We all want players, wherever they’re drafted, to play right away,” Trotz said. “But they’re human. They all have their own path and their own timeline.”
But the clock is ticking on Dal Calle, in the last season of his three-year, $9.375-million entry-level deal before he will become a restricted free agent without arbitration rights.
“I knew it was going to be a big year for me,” Dal Colle said. “This offseason was my biggest offseason yet. I worked a lot on my skating and in the gym, a lot of time to get stronger, and I think it’s paid off.”
Notes & quotes: Goalie Robin Lehner is expected to start . . . Trotz said Martin will not play Sunday.