Noah Dobson will be under the spotlight in the Islanders’ first round series

When the puck drops on the Penguins and Islanders opening-round series either Sunday or Monday — more likely Sunday — who the spotlight will be shining on for both teams should be pretty easy to tell. The usual suspects, Sidney Crosby, Mathew Barzal, Kris Letang and Semyon Varlamov, are all going to be talked about ad nauseam. A few other Isles might get some extra rub as well. One of them who might not receive any such notoriety but should be watched closely is Noah Dobson.

Dobson, the 12th overall pick in 2018, is entering his second postseason with the Islanders.

The 21-year-old was with the Isles for their run to the Eastern Conference finals in the bubble last summer, despite only playing one time. Dobson’s lone appearance came in game six of the third round against Tampa Bay, where he replaced Adam Pelech who had broken his wrist in the previous game. The Isles were eliminated that night in overtime on an Anthony Cirelli goal, but Dobson didn’t look at all fazed by the bright lights of the postseason.

“Our back end is really, really good and Dobber is going to be a big part of the future and the now,” Trotz said after the loss that night. “He’ll be a big part of it going forward.”

This go-around will be a little different for Dobson. Unless head coach Barry Trotz goes with the veteran experience — which he’s known to favor from time to time — and plays Braydon Coburn (highly doubtful), Dobson should be a regular in the lineup against the Pens. In the regular season, he was the everyday fifth d-man in the Islanders’ rotation on the backend playing opposite Andy Greene, and he was an important cog in the team’s engine. Before his stint on the NHL COVID-protocol list from mid-March till early April, the d-man was having a solid sophomore campaign. When he came back, it was hard for Dobson to re-adjust to the pace and speed of the game.

All in all, this will be the youngster’s first real big challenge of his career.

Dobson does know a thing or two about rising to the occasion in the postseason. He played a big role in winning back-to-back Memorial Cups in juniors. That’s a pretty good trait to have. But compared to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, junior playoff hockey is child’s play. The intensity and grind the games can have on the players is turned up another dial. But there’s another aspect to remember in regards to why to keen in on him.

The Islanders traded Devon Toews in the offseason with the idea that Dobson could be the air apparent to him not just in the regular season but the playoffs too. Toews was solid in for the Isles in the bubble, so if Dobson can repeat or outshine how he performed, it will justify a lot of the belief that Trotz and g.m. and Lou Lamoriello had when they spoke about him.

“We would not have made this move certainly if the ice time that Devon received, we didn’t have the ability to put a player into that, and Noah Dobson will certainly, we feel is ready to take the next step,” Lamoriello said back in October.

Well, that next step has arrived for Dobson. The playoffs could well end up being his coming-out party. There’s no doubt he’s going to have his hands full with the sneaky attack Pittsburgh is armed with. Who knows, maybe he pulls an Adam Pelech/Ryan Pulock from two playoffs ago?

One thing for sure, we will know a lot more about the one they call “Dobber” very soon. The spotlight is definitely on him among many others in this series for the Islanders.

The Islanders have something this season they haven’t had in a long time

There’s a old saying in the sport of hockey: “the future has arrived”. Some say it’s a phrase that can be overrun until that reality smacks you straight in the face. Time and time again, the word future and the Islanders have become one in the same as the years have gone by. But this season, that future has taken a clear hold of where the franchise is hoping to go and looking to stay for the foreseeable future.

The Isles, and their fans for that matter, are seeing a dynamic in this COVID-induced year they haven’t witnessed in a long time — prospects living up or exceeding expectations. Three names in particular, Oliver Wahlstrom, Ilya Sorokin and Noah Dobson, have made this “youth movement” an enjoyable one for everyone to watch.

Even as Dobson deals with being in COVID protocol — yesterday marked his tenth day on the league’s list — he was having a solid sophomore campaign and was near the top in stats for defensemen on the club.

As for Wahlstrom and Sorokin, both of them have played a significant role in the team’s success and have people around the league buzzing.

The 20-year-old Wahlstrom has proven to be the sniper the organization has been clamoring for for what seems like decades. He’s already tallied eight goals, each more impressive to the last, and has 15 points overall in just 26 games. Mind you he’s doing this as a bottom-six forward — he’s playing on the third line centered by J.G. Pageau — which makes what’s he’s been doing extremely admirable. Wahlstrom’s teammate Sorokin, albeit five years older, as I wrote yesterday is showing he’s as advertised from how spectacular he was during his dominating tenure in the his homeland in the KHL.

“His confidence is growing and you see that in net,” Casey Cizikas said about Sorokin a few weeks back. “His work ethic in practice is above and beyond. He’s working and he’s getting better at his game. You’re seeing that out there. He’s made some really big saves for us at some key times.”

Sorokin has helped provide the Isles with essentially the best goaltending duo in the NHL along with veteran Semyon Varlamov. Not only that, he’s provided a glimpse of why he could be an elite goaltender in the NHL for years to come.

This kind of impact from their youth has come before for the Isles, but not the way these three individuals have done it all at the same time. There was Mathew Barzal is 2017-18 when he was running roughshod over the league which ended in him as the Calder Trophy winner. There was also Josh Ho-Sang’s rise at the end of the 2016-17 season. Before that you have to go all the way back to the early 2000s when the franchise saw the fruits of labor come with Rick DiPietro and Trent Hunter.

So as you can tell, seeing three and possibly more youngsters — if Kieffer Bellows can find a role back in the lineup — making an impact all at the same time doesn’t happen often with this organization.

That’s changed this season and the Isles have become a better team for it.

Islanders head coach made it a point that having young guys on the team this year has added an extra ingredient. The team is having fun. Look no further than Wahlstrom, who during Monday night’s win in Philadelphia was caught on camera singing to the song “Here Comes the Boom!” playing over the PA.

We all know Mathew Barzal is a wizard with the puck on his stick, but to have the amount of dekes he has totaled through 33 games is almost uncanny.

Per Sportsnet last night, Barzal has tried a league-leading 179 open-ice moves when the game is played at 5-on-5.

Based on that stat, you wonder why he makes defenders look like traffic cones most of the time.

Leaning more on Noah Dobson might finally fix the Islanders’ long-standing power play woes

The Islanders found out yesterday they will not play till at the earliest Saturday against Pittsburgh. And as I wrote yesterday this mini-break should give them time to reassess things, including the power play.

Problem is, the Islanders have been reassessing that part of the game for far too long now.

It’s basically their kryptonite.

The complaint for years now has always been they don’t have a sniper. And it’s true, they don’t. But what catches the eye more is the team’s inability to have clean zone entries. That dynamic in itself has only brought upon more frustration from everyone who watches this team play.

Chatting with someone on this yesterday — and because head coach Barry Trotz said there would be an emphasis on special teams with the extra practice days this week — we agreed Noah Dobson could be the answer to their ongoing struggle.

With all due respect to Nick Leddy, who’s been at the forefront of the team’s power play for years, he just isn’t cutting it anymore as the the carrier or facilitator of the puck. Do his rushes work sometimes? Yes. A majority of the time though he too struggles to get the right zone entry, thus leading the team to have to restart and see precious time tick off their chances. It’s not just him that’s the root of the problem. Several others who make up both club’s power play units try too hard or too little at times. Even Mathew Barzal isn’t adverse to not this type of criticism.

But Dobson has the ability and the wherewithal to finally alter that, making the man-advantage just that, an advantage.

The Isles saw first hand in the Conference finals having to deal with Victor Hedman how much a puck-moving d-man on the power play can make the a difference. Dobson might be too early in his career to be compared to Hedman, but the same traits are there. He’s already taken on more responsibility this year with the absences of Devon Toews and Johnny Boychuk, and it seems he is hungrier for more. Plus, we’ve already witnessed how smooth he is with the puck on his tape early on this season — which can be attributed to his excellent skating — and that he can facilitate, is not afraid to shoot and can find ways to transport the puck into the offensive zone; Dobson leads the team with three power play assists.

All of those aspects combined are what has plagued the Islanders and let them down in the biggest spots for years now.

You would think changing coaches, strategies, the players who make up the groups could change their fortunes. It hasn’t. Just on this latest road trip, the power play went a dismal 2-for-18. Overall this year, the Isles power play is 19th and converting at just 15.7%, according to covers.com.

When are things finally going to turn the corner?

It can start by the team leaning on Dobson to be essentially their “power play quarterback”.

The Athletic released their projections for next year’s Winter Olympics for the USA and Canada, and there is a little Isles flavor too it.

Mathew Barzal, who will most likely be a shoe-in for Canada, made the cut as a part of a star-studded, Hall of Fame group. While for the Americans, Anders Lee got the nod.

There’s an debate to be had as to whether Brock Nelson should be in over Lee for his performance over the past two years.

We’ll know more about what Team USA will look like towards the end of this year.

UBS Arena announced its first musical act earlier this morning. The Weeknd will be headlining the building in April 2022. The caveat to the announcement was that the news was not tended to be the arena’s first show.

That will most likely be intended for Long Island’s own Billy Joel and will come before the Islanders take the ice there in October.

Islanders’ Noah Dobson proving to be as advertised

When the Islanders traded Devon Toews to Colorado back in October, there was reasonable concern that replacing him wouldn’t be easy. But the Isles stood firm in the notion that sophomore Noah Dobson could do the job.

Five games into this season — and sure it’s a small sample size — Dobson has proven he was more than worthy of the faith the brass and coaching staff instilled in him. More than that, he’s been as advertised as the same player they Isles drafted 12th overall back in 2018.

“He’s been around pros for a year, he’s got a little bit of experience and he’s had time to get stronger as a young man training properly, head coach Barry Trotz said last week in praising Dobson. “He’s been practicing playing some games. He’s just grown. He’s ready to take on a real big piece of ice time this year. With the best interest of the Islanders and going forward, we knew we had to get him ready for this year. It wasn’t about last year, it was about this year.”

Dobson’s good start has been a bright spot for the Isles here in the early going. Minus the second game of the year at MSG, the argument can be made he’s been the team’s best defenseman outside of Nick Leddy. Right now he’s tied with Leddy for tops on the Isles for points as a d-man.

On Thursday, he recorded his first multi-point game of his NHL career. Dobson followed up that excellent performance on Sunday, when he was clearly the team’s best skater in their 2-0 loss in New Jersey. The 21-year-old played a career-high 22:22 and had two shots.

In both of those standout games too, the Isles’ power play looked more aggressive, which is something fans have been clamoring for and can be attributed to Dobson’s presence. Their first power play in Sunday’s game, the Islanders had six shots with Dobson manning one of the points.

Dobson was always known as a power play threat back in juniors, and now we’re seeing why. He hasn’t been afraid to shoot and makes quick decision with the puck on his stick. And as much as Ryan Pulock is the de facto power play QB, he’s become the second coming in a way.

But it’s not just from an offensive standpoint where Dobson is thriving. Defensively he looks extremely comfortable now that the training wheels are off.

The Isles sheltered Dobson last year in the games he played, and for good cause. He wasn’t ready for big minutes yet. That’s become a thing of the past so far as he’s been paired with grizzled veteran Andy Greene. The duo have been building chemistry with each other dating back to when the Isles returned to play in the summer.

The biggest thing is just confidence and comfort level,” Dobson told reporters before last Thursday’s game. “The more you do anything, the more comfortable and confident you get. This year, I feel like I’ve got a lot more confidence with the puck and I’m trying to make plays.”

Islanders’ g.m. Lou Lamoriello said that he feels Dobson has “outstanding potential”. At this stage, it’s hard to disagree with his analysis. He’s just one of the several young players the organization is banking on to be difference makers not only this year but beyond.

There’s still a long way left to go in this season, but Noah Dobson is looking like he’s the real deal.

The Islanders are facing the Capitals for the first time tonight since they eliminated them in five games in the bubble playoffs. The Caps are now coached by Peter Laviolette who last season got called out by Trotz for his handling of the late game power play when his Nashville Predators blew out the Isles 8-3 at the Coliseum.

Could we see some fireworks because of that situation? It would be welcome.

Another factoid to add is that the home team has won each matchup the last two seasons between the Isles and Washington. No such thing as home-ice advantage in this matchup.

Islanders’ GM Lou Lamoriello has high expectations for Mathew Barzal this season

The Islanders’ season is less than a week old, but that hasn’t kept g.m. Lou Lamoriello from having a few things to say about his club’s start.

Lamoriello did a radio spot with Sirius NHL Radio yesterday after the Isles’ 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins Monday night. It was a very candid and open interview, probably some would say the most open the Islanders general manager has been to date.

One of the main topics discussed was Mathew Barzal and Lou’s expectations for him in this shortened season.

“What we expect from Mat is to do the things that god has given him with his talent,” Lamoriello said.

Barzal is now in his fifth season in the NHL and he’s just agreed to a three-year, $7M deal on January 9th. That contract put him with captain Anders Lee as the highest-paid player on the team. He’s also considered the Islanders’ best player from an offensive standpoint; the 23-year-old has led the team in points three straight seasons.

Lamoriello though is looking for more from his stud center beyond the scoresheet.

“Not worry about scoring, but just worrying about both ends of the ice,” he said. “He has worked at that, been outstanding and made that commitment. “He wants to be an Islander. He said that loud and clear. He’s been great. I have nothing but good things to say about him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with better edges. He’s certainly an integral part of this team.”

It’s true that Barzal has gotten better in some of those areas, but he still hasn’t reached that echelon where he’s one of the more consistent two-way centers in the sport. That’s expected to change this year. Lou knows it. He knows it.

Barzal even made it a sticking point after signing his new deal that consistency was going to be key for him moving forward.

And it goes hand-and-hand with what the Isles are trying to accomplish: Winning a Stanley Cup.

The Isles’ bread-and-butter under Lamoriello since he arrived in 2018, and furthermore Barry Trotz, has been a defense-first mentality. Barzal plays a key part in that. It’s easy to see why Lamoriello is so keen on him being laser-focused at improving with and without the puck  as opposed to him just leaning more towards offense, which most fans have been clamoring to see for a while now.

Expectations coming into this season were already sky high for Barzal. The fact that Lamoriello came out and said what he likes to see from him was different and enlightening.

You usually don’t hear the general manager talk expectations about their star players, let alone Lou Lamoriello. Obviously though he sees the untapped potential Barzal has.

And he hopes that potential comes out in droves this year not only offensively but defensively.

Lamoriello also had some high praise for the defensive corps he and the coaching staff assembled this year. What he said about the duo of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech really drove home how great they’ve become.

“I never realized what their abilities were. Great human beings, great teammates, he said. “They stay within their limits and playing together they’ve make each other better. They’ve done a great job.”

Lamoriello also was emphatic about Nick Leddy and how he feels he’s playing his best hockey since he took over the organization. He also was quick to point out Noah Dobson and how he thinks he will progress.

“Noah Dobson has outstanding potential. We feel he’s going to get better and better.”

Speaking of Pulock, it seems he and the rest of the guys in the room are more than comfortable continuing to play the underdog role despite two straight postseason appearances and making the Eastern Conference finals this past summer.

“I think we as a group are kind of fine with that underdog mentality and trying to prove people wrong,” he said chatting on NHL Network yesterday. We’ve looked at it the past couple of years and had success that way. We’re gonna keep building that way.”

Pulock also showed off his stitched ear from the shot he took up high on Saturday, all 18 of them. That’s a hockey guy.

 

New York Islanders: Predictions for the 2021 season

 Anthony Beauvillier , New York Islanders

The New York Islanders season finally begins tonight after a 3-month layoff since their last game. I just want to say what a great job the NHL has done handling Coronavirus. Not a single league, other than maybe the UFC, has handled COVID-19 better than the NHL.

Back to the Islanders. This 2021 Islanders team is basically the same team as the 2020 team, but it feels different. With additions of Ilya Sorokin and other 3rd liners. The development of Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kieffer Bellows. This team, on paper, looks better than the 2020 team, even without Devon Toews. Hockey is finally back, and with a new season comes new predictions.

Top New York Islanders predictions for the 2021 season:

Mat Barzal Bounces Back

It’s weird when a pro-athlete scores 60 points in 68 games, and it’s a down year. But this just shows how talented Mat Barzal really is. My biggest critique of Barzal at one point was the fact that he never shot the puck. Barzal would always pass it to someone who was covered instead of taking an open shot. Barzal only took 170 shots last year, he needs to take around 220 in a full season. But then the playoffs came, and he finally started shooting the puck. And when a dangerous player gets the puck on the net, good things happen. With a good backcheck and some more effort on defense, it looks like Barzal could become a top center in this league.

Anthony Beauvillier Leads the Team in Goals

This is somewhat of a bold prediction due to the goal scoring talent at the center position. Brock Nelson, JG Pageau, and Mat Barzal are normally the ones who lead the team in scoring. But, there’s something undeniable in the way that Beauvillier plays. He’s a baby flame who’s just getting ready to scorch the whole house. With linemates like Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson, there’s a big possibility that this can happen.

Adam Pelech gets in the Norris Trophy Race.

Adam Pelech has been the Islanders’ best-kept secret for the longest time. Pelech is probably the most underrated defenseman in the entire league. I would go as far as to say that Pelech is the most important player on the team. The Islanders slumped so terribly when Pelech got hurt the Isles went 10-13-7 and let up around 3 goals a game. But, when Pelech’s healthy, they went 25-10-3 and let up only around 2.5 goals a game. If the Norris trophy actually focused on defense, Pelech would’ve won it by now.

Ilya Sorokin Wins the Calder

The rookie of the year goes to the 25-year-old Ilya Sorokin. There’s actually zero doubt in my mind about this. The only thing that may be holding him back is the fact that Varlamov is the starter. Sorokin was the best goalie outside of the NHL. Now that he’s here, I don’t know if anyone can stop him.

Islanders continuing to get ready for next season despite the unknown

While the start date for the upcoming NHL season remains in limbo, several Islanders are still preparing whenever they may receive the call for when things may begin.

Over the weekend, defenseman Noah Dobson was seen on Instagram working out in the weight room as he prepares for his second season as a pro. It was also a nice reminder that the season will hopefully get here soon and that Dobson himself will be one of the key players for the Isles moving forward.

Dobson was on the ice for the last time the Isles played, as it was his only appearance in the postseason.

The 20-year-old, who appeared in 33 games last season, is expected to be in the play for one of the team’s top-four spots on the blue line. He is expected to replace the services of Devon Toews. Toews was traded last month to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for two future second-round picks.

Dobson isn’t the only one who has been working toward the proposed January 1st start date.

Simon Holmstrom, who was playing back in his home country on loan from the organization, is heading to Long Island to get ready for camp with the big club. Holmstrom skated in 11 games for Vita Hasten, posting a goal and an assist. And as The Athletic’s Arthur Staple noted this morning, there’s a chance the Isles send their 2019-first round pick to Edmonton where he will join Sweden for the upcoming World Juniors tournament.

Then there’s Otto Koivula. Just like Dobson, Koivula spent the entire postseason with the Isles despite not seeing any game action in either bubble.

The 22-year-old spent some time with the big club last year but has been getting tons of ice time suiting up for IFK in the Finnish Elite League — Liiga — after the Isles loaned him there a month ago.

With IFK, he’s tallied 11 points and his game seems to be rounding into form.

“There’s a big difference to be playing 15-20 games in a league than just training on your own and skating with the guys on Long Island,” Koivula told The Athletic. “That’s good, too, but it’s being in game shape that I think will help me when camp starts.”

Koivula is going to need his best if he’s going to want to crack the Isles lineup. It could be an uphill battle for him with the team basically set down the middle and some other veterans and depth guys ahead of him on the totem pole. On the flip side, it’s good to see him looking to be ready right out of the gates with the hopes of impressing Barry Trotz and his coaching staff.

January 1st continues to be the target date for the NHL and NHLPA to begin the season, but nothing has been decided on yet. That hasn’t stopped several Islander players from preparing as if this were a normal season.

Which is good even with all the uncertainty ahead.

New York Islanders: Could Noah Dobson become the Number 1?

New York Islanders, Noah Dobson

The New York Islanders defense is loaded with talent. There are at least 9 defensemen who could start on a plethora of teams. This being said, there is a clear distinction of who the best defenseman is. It’s currently Ryan Pulock with Adam Pelech not too far behind him. But, there is another young defenseman who could take that title. I’m talking about no other than Noah Dobson.

Noah Dobson has already claimed top-4 minutes after just under a year in the league and will continue to improve as he continues to play. There are two reasons why Dobson could take this title. And the reasons completely separate him from Pulock and Pelech.

Skating Abilities

Don’t get me wrong, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock are terrific skaters. But, Noah Dobson is a different kind of a skater. His speed is so underrated, and it’s crazy because he can move the puck 200 feet. This is going to secure him a spot on the powerplay someday soon, and it opens up the offense, which is something the Islanders need more of. Noah Dobson also can force wingers back to the outside by how he skates. He’s 6’4, and only 186 pounds, but his use of the body while skating is advanced for his age. It helps a goalie out a lot by facing shots from the outside rather than from right in front.

Wrist Shot

The top Islanders defenders all have one facet of their game that no one else can match. For Ryan Pulock, it’s his booming slapshot. For Adam Pelech, it’s his unavoidable poke check.

Well, for Noah Dobson, it’s his wrist shot. Isles fans didn’t get to see much of his shot last year due to his age. What I mean by that is, Dobson didn’t want to do anything wrong on the ice instead of just being comfortable and playing his game. In every level he’s played in, Dobson’s wrist shot has been nearly unstoppable. Everyone always believes that he’s going to take a wicked slapshot from the point, but instead, he moves up 15 feet and unloads a wrister into the toy department. Definitely, something that NHL goalies have to be aware of.

Conclusion

Noah Dobson has unlimited potential right now. He’s got the best Head and Assistant coaches in the league. Also, he’s surrounded by a bunch of great young and old defensemen. I look at Noah Dobson the same way I look at Alex Pietrangelo, they’re very similar, and that should excite Isles fans.

The Noah Dobson era is officially here for the Islanders

New York Islanders, Noah Dobson

While the New York Islanders deal with the aftermath of the Devon Toews trade and wait for the impending move of veteran Johnny Boychuk, another era has officially gotten underway.

The Noah Dobson era.

Dobson, the 12th overall pick from the 2018 draft, has now earned his place as the next in line to be the centerpiece on the Islanders’ defense.

The highly-touted rookie spent all of last season with the Isles, in part due to the organization not wanting to send him back to juniors and the inability to have him play in the AHL because of age restriction. Dobson played in 34 games for the Islanders and tallied a goal and six assists. The 20-year-old also suited up in the Islanders’ last game of the playoffs, the 2-1 OT loss in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In that contest — his only appearance in the postseason — Dobson didn’t look out of place and showed right then and there he was ready for the challenge of being a top-four defenseman in the NHL.

Now he’ll get his chance to reward the organization’s faith in him. With Toews off to Colorado, Dobson is the one expected to step up in his place.

“We would not have made this move if the ice time that Devon received, we didn’t have the ability to put a player into that,” Lamoriello told reporters on Monday after the Toews deal. “And Noah Dobson, we feel, is certainly ready to take the next step so we’ll have to just wait and see.”

Not since Ryan Pulock, and the aforementioned Toews, has the franchise been so high on one of their blueliners. After all, Dobson was a top-15 pick and was one of the top defensive prospects in his draft class that included Rasmus Dahlin, Quinn Hughes, Evan Bouchard, and Adam Boqvist; out of those five, he, Hughes, Boqvist and Dahlin have had a significant impact on their clubs thus far. Add to that, his dominant junior career. The Summerside, PEI native became one of the premier defenders in his time in the QMJHL, received a ton of accolades, and won back-to-back Memorial Cups with Acadie-Bathurst and Rouyn-Noranda.

Dobson definitely has the capabilities of being elite at both ends of the ice. Who knows, maybe there’s a possible Norris Trophy down the road. Some experts did say when he was picked that Dobson could turn out to be just that good.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, we’ve only seen a small sample size of what he’s is truly capable of.

Despite that, his real arrival is coinciding with where the Isles are as an organization — on the cusp of something truly special.

The Islanders are coming off their second consecutive postseason appearance and their deepest playoff run in 27 years. They’re also in “win now” mode and on the verge of being a Stanley Cup contender for years to come. In addition, they have one of the best coaches in the league in Barry Trotz, a 25-year-old stud goalie who is their future in goal named Ilya Sorokin and one of the top defensive units in the league. Dobson becoming a major player of that core only provides even more excitement.

“Our back end is really, really good and Dobber is going to be a big part of the future,” Trotz said a few weeks back. “And the now, I guess, because we’ll be into the next season very shortly here. He’ll be a big part of it going forward.”

The start date for next season still hasn’t been announced, but when it does, Dobson will be the one to watch. Whether that means he’s a part of a third-pairing with Andy Greene — the two were the club’s best duo heading into the postseason bubble and Greene most likely being back with the organization based on Lamoriello’s words a few days ago — or slated in the top-four and helping on special teams, the spotlight will be on him.

Dobson is set to turn 21 next month. By then, he will officially no longer be a teen. Not only that, he’ll be the face of the future on the backend for the Islanders.

There are still changes coming for the Isles, but one big one has already taken shape. It’s Dobson and the beginning of his ascent in the organization.

His time is officially here.

 

New York Islanders: Will Noah Dobson Get the Starting Spot Next Year?

New York Islanders, Noah Dobson

New York Islanders‘ defenseman Noah Dobson is close to NHL ready. There’s one problem for Dobson, though; there’s a million other defensemen on the roster. The Islanders have established defensemen like Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Both of those defenders have long, expensive contracts. This makes them hard to trade and lowers Dobson’s chances of starting a lot.  How can Noah Dobson start next year?

Have a Strong Training Camp

Training camp is a time for unproven draft picks, old veterans, and undrafted free agents to show that they have what it takes. Noah Dobson is no different. Just because he was the number 12th overall pick doesn’t mean he gets a hall pass. Dobson has to give it his all on every single rep and take the spot away. Last year, general manager Lou Lamoriello has stated that he would give Dobson every shot to make the team. It won’t be as hard to make the team for Dobson, but it will still be a challenge, especially if he wants to be in the top 6. Sliding in with Nick Leddy or whoever stays around isn’t a gift; he will have to earn every minute.

Trading Talent

There are a few defenders that need to go if Noah Dobson wants a shot of making the team. Nick Leddy has the most trade value out of all those defenders. If the Islanders can unload Nick Leddy off for someone like Tomas Tatar, Dobson moves up in the depth chart. Johnny Boychuk already has one foot in the grave. Andy Greene took his spot for the playoffs indefinitely. Boychuk doesn’t have much trade value; he’s old and costs a lot of money. It would be nice for the Islanders to trade Boychuk due to cap space problems, but it’s unlikely.

Conclusion

Noah Dobson has a good shot to start next year, but he has to work for it. There are many obstacles in front of him, but adversity builds character.