Mason Jobst has filled the Islanders faithful with excitement. The 25-year-old center, who was captain of The Ohio State University hockey team last year, had an outstanding preseason. While many were hoping his intriguing play would warrant giving him a job on the roster, the congested forward group of the Islanders caused him to be sent to Bridgeport of the AHL. This was the most likely outcome going into the season due to his limited professional experience.
The calm, agile centremen turned heads in the three games he played for the Islanders during the preseason, scoring one goal and tallying an assist, both coming in overtime in two of the Islanders’ wins in the preseason. While his statistical play was good and the clutch factor he possesses is tantalizing, it’s the calm composure he exhibited that truly impressed. He has comfortably played on the fourth line with fellow rookies as linemates.
Although being sent down may be seen as a negative, it will allow Jobst to hone his skills, develop his two-way game and come back hungrier than ever. However, a potential factor preventing Jobst from ever satisfying that hunger is his height. Coming in at 5’8”, his stature is quite small for a possible NHL player.
In recent years, the NHL has been straying away from choosing what player makes their team based on height. Although this still is a problem Mason Jobst will have to face. Playing on the fourth line, he would be expected to play a more gritty, defensive style of game. Under Barry Trotz, those expectations are multiplied exponentially.
The first thing Mason Jobst has to do is prove to Trotz his ability and earn his trust. Once he can achieve that goal, it’s only up from there. Luckily for him, it seems as if a foundation of trust was achieved in this preseason, as he had regular shifts in overtime, capitalizing on each opportunity.
Producing at a point-per-game rate in college, and the excellence shown in the preseason, there is no reason not to expect a phenomenal season in Bridgeport for the young player. His offensive ability isn’t a question, and he contains a clutch gene most could only wish to possess.
Ambitions of AHL rookie of the year is in his sights, his determination will prove to be a major factor in his campaign to make the big leagues. His diameter small, but his talent is extensive. Jobst has proved his worth to the Islanders’ organization, albeit being stereotyped as not being physically ready by an old school thought process. As long as the Islanders can look past his height, and focus on the positives of having an exuberant, youthful centreman on their team, a fulltime job in the NHL is the next step for Mason Jobst.