The Islanders first-round draft pick back in 2014, Michael Dal Colle, is set to make his NHL debut against the Rangers on Saturday.
Dal Colle could see some significant time in his debut, according to head coach Doug Weight. His call-up was due to injuries involving Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd, and Dal Colle may be asked to fill their void.
"He could get north of 13, 14, or 15 (minutes), or he could get six," Weight told Newsday's Jordan Lauterbach. "He can dictate that, I'm sure he's going to work. But, I expect him to play."
No matter how much time Dal Colle sees on the ice, it will be crucial in earning Weight's trust. Getting on the coach's good side is just what the 21-year-old should aim for.
"It's a road game," Weight said. "You can't have people on the ice in certain situations if you don't trust them. So, he has to earn my trust. But, he's a smart hockey player. His work ethic and hockey IQ is really goo. He's played in a lot of situations he hadn't played in juniors and he's excelled at it at the AHL level. I expect Mike to do a good job, I'm excited for him."
The pressure may be mounting for Dal Colle, but this is the moment he's been looking forward to since he was a kid.
"It's what you dream of as a kid," he said. "It's a very happy time for me and my family.
"I just want to play the same way I've been playing. "It's about being good in my own end and hopefully creating some offense. I just want to play my game and hopefully have a good debut."
There is no better way of debuting than playing in a rivalry game, and that is just what Dal Colle gets when the Islanders face the Rangers. This longtime feud between both New York teams is something the youngster understands very well.
"Everybody knows about that rivalry ever since you start watching hockey," he noted. "To have a debut in that game is going to be pretty exciting."
After totaling 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 75 games last season, Dal Colle has notched five goals and 13 assists with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers so far this season. The point total may not jump off the page, but Dal Colle's play has been growing steadily over his young career, and he is ready to bring it to the NHL.
"His numbers should be better than what they are is what the message was (from Bridgeport)," Weight said. "Miek has worked hard. He hasn't come in torching and ripping up, but he's consistently gotten better."