The first word that comes to Brent Thompson’s mind when he thinks about Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle is "improving."
Starting with his three-game American Hockey League debut with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the tail end of the 2015-16 season and another trio of games in that spring’s Calder Cup playoffs, through his rookie AHL campaign last year all the way through both the early and late summer rookie camps, the budding left wing is "improving daily," according to Thompson, head coach of the Sound Tigers.
"Mike continues to work on his pace," the bench boss said. "That’s one of the biggest things. He really works on moving his feet and adding that power-forward element to his game."
Thompson noted that Dal Colle, selected fifth overall in the 2014 National Hockey League draft by the Islanders, learned last year that using his 6-3, 198-pound frame and being more physical on the forecheck will create more time and space for him to work and get his shot off quicker. The net result was a campaign in which he totaled 41 points (15-26-41) in 75 games, one short of a full season. "I give him credit," Thompson said. "He’s a coachable kid. He works at those things."
That’s been the common theme with Dal Colle since he first donned a Sound Tigers jersey — he’s coachable. It also is a must-have trait for any player seeking to seize a spot in the NHL.