Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle are two of the Islanders' best prospects and after only a few months into their first AHL season they have their sights set on the big club.
"I know that they're in last place right now," Ho-Sang told WFAN's Peter Schwartz. "I just want to play better and force their hand. They obviously need to figure out some stuff up there. I can just control what I can and play as well as I can down here and, ultimately, they make the call whenever they feel like it. My phone is always on."
Ho-Sang and Dal Colle are roommates, and because of that, have forged a very close personal relationship. So much so that Dal Colle is willing to go to bat for Ho-Sang's reputation.
"I know he's a great kid," Dal Colle said. "Most people don't really know him off the ice, but I've known him for a very long time. He's a great friend and one of the most loyal people I've ever met. He's obviously a great hockey player, but he's an even better person."
Meanwhile, Ho-Sang returned the complimentary words, specifically where referring to Dal Colle's shot.
"I think that Islanders fans have no idea what they actually have, but you get that guy in the slot and he's money," Ho-Sang said.
I know a lot of people's expectations are quelled on these two guys for a number of reasons. Dal Colle got a lot of buzz in camp in 2015, but this season, it was a foregone conclusion he'd get a full year at Bridgeport. And Ho-Sang, well…that's pretty well-documented, with some leery of the perceived-off ice baggage he comes equipped with. But I'm really high on both players, and I think they'll both be impact NHL forwards.
While Ho-Sang certainly has more of the sizzle, I think Dal Colle has the steak. I see MDC's game as a more complete one, at least at this stage in the two player's development. He has the chance to be a special player, especially if he gets a chance to play on John Tavares' wing at any point. Like Ho-Sang eluded to, a shot like Dal Colle's doesn't come around all that often.
Meanwhile, Ho-Sang, the human GIF machine, is the kind of guy that is going to make highlight reels on the regular. I know that he'd had his missteps off the ice, and I'm not sure that the current administration is the best equipped to optimize his full skill set, but in the right environment, Ho-Sang could really put it all together. I think he has a little bit more refining to do than Dal Colle at this point, but the ceiling is astronomically high based on his skating and stick handling alone.
This is to say that there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about this organization. And I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see both of these guys in some fashion as early as next season. In Dall Colle's case, maybe even Opening Night 2017.