The New York Islanders will have the luxury of choosing from eight defensemen for when they begin their qualifying round series next Saturday against the Florida Panthers.
Among them is rookie Noah Dobson
Dobson, 20 and the youngest of the group, was probably the least expected to get the nod as camp got underway. That narrative has changed.
Head coach Barry Trotz lauded he and d-partner Andy Greene’s work the whole first week of camp, going even farther to say the duo has “been as good as any of our D pairs”. Now there’s a real possibility that Dobson might have earned himself a spot on the blue line to begin the playoffs.
It would definitely come as a surprise if Dobson were to get the call, especially with all the rest of the guys fighting for those final two spots all having playoff experience. Plus Trotz already acknowledged early on in camp last week that he would most likely go with the veterans over the younger players even if those young guys did outplay their competition.
Let’s say Dobson did win either the fifth or six role, it would be another huge step in his development and the type of stage for a player the organization sees as a potential top-four d-man for hopefully the next five to ten years. Not only that, but it would also be a continuation of how strong he came on before the coronavirus pandemic shutdown the regular season. Dobson had an assist in both of the Islanders’ final two regular-season games against Carolina and Vancouver. He was also getting more ice time from Trotz with both Adam Pelech and Johnny Boychuk sidelined.
Furthermore, you can never go wrong with a little infusion of youth in the playoffs. Take for example Colordado’s Cale Makar in 2019 and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy in 2016. Both were unprecedented, yet welcomed.
Makar came in as a rookie in the middle of the Avalanche’s series against Calgary and immediately made an impact, scoring in his first game on his first shot. He would play the rest of the playoffs until the Avs were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the second round. As for McAvoy, he jumped right from playing at B.U. (Boston University) to playing top-four minutes for the Bruins in their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators; he would record three assists in six games.
Now I’m not saying Dobson is on the level of Makar or McAvoy — hopefully he gets there in the near future — but he being on D could make him an underrated presence. Dobson could be what his teammate Ryan Pulock was for the Isles in 2016 against those same Panthers. There were flashes he can be a contributor at both ends in the 34 games he played in the regular season.
Dobson will have one more opportunity to solidify his spot on the back end when the Islanders play the Rangers in their tune-up game a week from tonight. If he plays well, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be starting for game one against Florida.
The “White Whale” has come ashore!
That’s right. Ilya Sorokin has finally arrived in New York.
Sorokin touched down in the Big Apple yesterday afternoon after an early morning flight from Moscow with fellow countryman and Montreal Canadiens prospect, Alexander Romanov.
There was speculation that the Isles would have flown the 24-year-old straight to Toronto to begin his quarantine so he could join the team when they arrive later this week. Sorokin’s agent, Dan Milstein, was mum on the situation about whether his client was heading to New York or heading for the bubble.
Then last night, a picture was posted on social media of Sorokin posing with some Port Authority police officers, confirming he is in New York and not in Canada.
— SP19hockey (@SP19hockey) July 21, 2020
So it’s official and the wait is over. Sorokin is here.
Isles fans can now rejoice, knowing they are one step closer to seeing their future in goal.