Last offseason, the New York Islanders had a tough cap dilemma to solve. They had some critical free agents, namely star center Mathew Barzal, and Defensemen Devon Toews, and Ryan Pulock.
The Islanders only had so much room to fit every player in under the cap. They managed to re-sign Pulock and Barzal to bridge deal extensions. However, there wasn’t enough room under the cap for everyone and Devon Toews found himself traded to the Avalanche. This was a huge loss, as Toews had grown into a powerplay quarterback top paring defensemen in his final season in Long Island.
When the Islanders drafted the 6’4″ 195 from Summerside, Prince Edward, Canada, expectations were that he would grow into being a dominant presence at both ends of the ice.
Coming out of juniors, he had a great read of the game on both ends. On defense, he used his frame to limit the amount of ice for opponents.
Offensively, Dobson has a good shot along with soft hands, he was point machine with 147 points in the QMJHL. Given his skills and gifts, Dobson potentially could add some serious moves to his wheelhouse in the coming years.
Dobson managed to crack the lineup in his rookie year in 2019-20 playing in 34 games before the season went on pause.
Dobson wasn’t getting a ton of game time for a team that was brimming with depth. An injury to Adam Pelech allowed him to get more game time. Dobson showed that he was NHL ready.
He pickied up right where he left off in juniors, shutting down opposing forwards regularly. This was evident in his NHL debut when he faced Connor McDavid and future MVP Leon Draisaitl. He remained poised and made life difficult for the lethal offensive centers. He also had an absolutely gorgeous pass to Matt Martin for his first NHL point, delivering a saucer pass across the crowded slot that was right on the tape of Martin.
After the pause
When the Islanders returned to play in the NHL bubble last summer, Dobson only played one game.
This was not necessarily due to a lack of ability, or level of play. The main reason was simply that Adam Pelech was healthy after having the time off. So Dobson went back to being a healthy scratch and a really good insurance policy for the Islanders Eastern Conference final run.
When his second season began there was high expectations for him to meet and he has met them.
He has been a presence on the power play for the Isles contributing, three power play points. Dobson is still being brought along slowly as they continue to make sure he is set up for success. His play has impressed head coach Barry Trotz so far, with continuing strong defensive play even with increased responsibility and better offensive play. He’s already matched his point total from last season in just 17 games this time around with 7 points from 1 goal and 6 assists.
I think the future projection for Noah Dobson will be right on the money. With a great coach in Barry Trotz, Dobson will be one of the better two way defensemen in NHL in the future. I think that a great comparison for him will end up being Alexander Pietrangelo of the Vegas Golden Knights.
They have prowess defensively but also an underrated and solid offensive game to complement and become a complete defensemen. The Islanders have a very good young defensemen who already is becoming an important piece on their blue line.