Playmaking, highlight-reel skill and defensive responsibility — Michael Dal Colle has it all.
But the main reason why he is projected to be a top-five selection in the 2014 NHL Draft is his NHL-caliber wrist shot and a lightning-quick release that enables him to find the back of the net from just about anywhere.
The 17-year-old native of Richmond Hill, Ont. stands at 6-foot-2 and 171 lbs., so he's not the biggest guy on the ice on many nights, but his elusiveness and quick-strike ability often makes him one of the most dangerous players on the ice.
During his first season in Oshawa, Dal Colle and current Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner helped the Generals advance to the second round of the OHL playoffs and helped re-establish winning ways at General Motors Centre. But before returning for his second season, Dal Colle played for the gold-medal winning Team Canada U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he scored two goals and two assists in five games.
This past season, the Eastern Conference-leading Generals swept their way to the conference finals before North Bay swept them out of the playoffs and ended a Memorial Cup bid. Dal Colle ranked seventh in OHL postseason scoring with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 12 games.
Dal Colle is also a pretty effective player on the power play, as well: his 16 power play goals during the 2013-14 regular season were tied for third in the entire league with Brendan Perlini and Aaron Ekblad - also two projected high picks in this year's draft class.
Dal Colle has received comparisons to the likes of Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Malkin, but he compares himself to Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal because he has the ability to create offense while staying focused on his own-zone responsibilities.
Here’s what Elite Prospects had to say about Dal Colle prior to the 2013-14 season:
“Dal Colle is a bull who uses his natural talents well. He's got an imposing frame and already shows great balance and strength on his skates. He plays a two-way game, battles hard and displays quick hands for his size.”