Lou Lamoriello, in his first season as the team’s general manager, doesn’t have an answer at the moment but he is encouraged by what he’s seeing from them this season with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“Neither one of them had a great year last year and neither one had an exceptional training camp but as we speak right now I feel very good because they’re both playing extremely well in Bridgeport,” Lamoriello said Wednesday during an appearance on Prime Time Sports.
Dal Colle was taken fourth overall in 2014 and Ho-Sang went 28th yet neither has seen much NHL action with Dal Colle having only four regular-season NHL games on his resume, while Ho-Sang’s much-ballyhooed career has resulted in him suiting up for just 43 regular-season games in an Isles uniform.
With former franchise centre John Tavares leaving in free agency, Lamoriello coming in as GM and Barry Trotz being hired on as the new head coach, the 2018-19 campaign represented a fresh start and a chance for players like the two 22-year-olds to finally crack the Islanders roster out of camp.
However, Lamoriello also acquired veteran forwards Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula and Matt Martin in the off-season, which meant there were fewer vacant roster spots, and both Ho-Sang and Dal Colle were sent to down Bridgeport to further their development.
Ho-Sang told the New York Post in late October he didn’t like his chances of making the team out of camp, saying: “I felt like they had their minds made up on what was going to happen and what the team was going to look like. It’s OK. They had the whole summer to plan that.”
Ho-Sang has responded by being a point-per-game producer through 12 AHL contests this season. Dal Colle is also off to a hot start with six goals and seven assists in 10 games with the Sound Tigers.
“Both players have worked very hard at doing what’s necessary to be better,” Lamoriello said. “They know they didn’t have a great camp. So, they’ll get that opportunity because there’s no excuses. It’s a whole new regime here – coaches and management – so it’s on them right now. We can’t look to what to happened last year and certainly when they’re ready they’ll get a chance. It’s up to them.
“I have no complaints about them right now and how they’ve prepared themselves and worked during training camp. It didn’t go as well as they would’ve liked it to I’m sure – they got in exhibition games – but right now they are playing well for us.”
Lamoriello added that Bridgeport GM, his son Chris Lamoriello, “is in constant contact with them” and monitoring their progress.
“They both have talent, they both have skill, and that’s something you cannot teach,” the elder Lamoriello said. “Now you have to get everything else going.”