The Islanders recently announced that both Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho Sang will not receive qualifying offers this offseason. The unfortunate part of this situation is that Dal Colle and Ho Sang were both first round picks in the 2014 draft. However, not all was lost in this draft as the Islanders also had some strong selections in the later rounds. With it being six years since this draft occurred, now is a good time to review the entirety of the class.
Round 1 Pick 5: Michael Dal Colle (LW)
Michael Dal Colle is a very strange case for the New York Islanders. There was a consensus amongst analysts and scouts that he’d be perfect at the fifth pick for the Islanders. And this wasn’t without good reason, he was a premier goal scorer in the OHL. In his last two seasons with the Oshawa Generals before the draft he had gotten 39 and 42 goals respectively. But his production slowly started to dip after being drafted. He never reached 20 goals in the AHL and, even worse, he only has seven goals in over 100 NHL games.
Almost nothing that made Dal Colle a consensus top five pick translated to the NHL game. At best he’s a good skater who can be relied upon to not be a liability on the ice. But in terms of offensive production, he has almost none. It even seems like he lost his aggressiveness that regularly made him such a high point scorer. Dal Colle’s development was altogether terrible as he never came close to the scoring power forward he was projected to be. It’s even worse looking at players like Nikolaj Ehlers and William Nylander who got drafted after him who are quality players in the league.
Round 1 Pick 28: Joshua Ho Sang (RW)
Ho Sang was a talent worthy of going in the middle of the draft, but fell late due to attitude concerns. Those concerns proved valid, as they’re part of the reason he’s not part of the team today. Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson notably called out Ho Sang for being a “baby” that was immature and, in his own words, had a lot of growing up to do. There was another incident in which he overslept during camp and was promptly cut for doing so.
While he did receive an NHL call up and showed some promise, it was very short lived. Similarly to Dal Colle, he was never able to put it all together in the NHL. In addition, his maturity problems and trade request also limited his chances to prove himself on the ice. His presumed last chance will be on a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs for this season.
Round 3 Pick 78: Ilya Sorokin (G)
Sorokin was probably a talent worthy of being selected in the first two rounds. The problem was his association with the KHL, which lessened his probability of leaving Russia and joining the NHL. The Islanders were the team that decided to take the risk with this goalie and draft him in the third round. While it seemed like he may never make the switch, Hall of Fame executive Lou Lamiorello joined the team and successfully convinced Sorokin to come to the NHL. His rookie season was very promising after a shaky surprise start against the New York Rangers in his debut. He put up an outstanding 2.17 GAA with a .918 save percentage. He was also one of the biggest factors in the Islanders round one playoff win, replacing an injured and struggling Semyon Varlamov. It’s clear the Islanders have found their future starter at the goaltender position.
Round 4 Pick 95: Linus Soderstrom (G)
With the risk attached to Sorokin, Soderstrom was supposed to be the surefire goalie prospect in the system. Ironically enough, Soderstrom never played a game in the AHL. This was not due to his performance but rather an extensive amount of injuries. His career numbers in Sweden were very solid and seemed like he had a legit future in the league. The only bad season he had was his last one in the ECHL while still with the Islanders. In that season he put up a poor 4.49 GAA in four games. This combined with the injury history likely led to him not getting a new deal with the team. He still hopes to get into the NHL, and definitely still has a chance being only 25 years old with solid potential.
Round 4 Pick 108: Devon Toews (D)
Devon Toews was arguably the best player taken by the Islanders in this draft, along with Sorokin. Toews has emerged as a great two way defenseman in the NHL, and is only in his third season. He quickly made his way into the Islanders top four in his first full season with the team in 2018. He was one of the team’s best defenseman in his two seasons with them, and still was improving his game. Unfortunately for the Islanders, they won’t get to see his full improvement as he is now a member of the Colorado Avalanche. He was a salary cap casualty, getting traded to the Avalanche so the team wouldn’t have to pay him. He has thrived there, playing on the first line with Cale Makar and getting a career high in points and plus minus.
Late Round Picks: Kyle Schempp (C) and Lukas Sutter (C)
The late round selections are seldomly anything significant to talk about, as was the case with these two. Schempp was touted as a modest goal scorer and a reliable skater, while Sutter was more touted for defensive ability. However, both played very few games in Bridgeport and didn’t show much promise as future NHLers. Some of the notable players the Islanders passed on in the later rounds include Victor Olofsson, Ondrej Kase and Sammy Blais.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images
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