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Noah Dobson: 2020 New York Islanders Grades So Far

Coming into training camp, the Islanders did not have many competitions for roster spots, as it was more along the lines of seeing of the young players were ready to make the jump to the National Hockey League. One of those young players who was fighting for a spot on the NHL roster was Noah Dobson. Dobson, one of the two Islanders’ first-round picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft was trying to prove himself in order to solidify the seventh spot on the defense behind Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, and Devon Toews. He ended up impressing head coach Barry Trotz during the preseason and beat out Sebastian Aho, and Thomas Hickey amongst other defensemen for the spot on the blueline.

The Good:

Noah Dobson was impressive during training camp, so the natural expectation was for him to play. Well, he didn’t play often to start the year but definitely started to play more and step up after Adam Pelech’s season-ending injury.

In the 11 games Dobson played before Pelech went down, he had two assists and was a +3 with two penalty minutes and averaging 13:52 a night, which, for a 19-year-old rookie defenseman, is not terrible. After the Pelech injury, however, Dobson played a lot more often, playing 23 games since the new year, scoring a goal and adding four assists while being a -4 and taking six penalty minutes, averaging 12:00 a night.

Overall, Dobson’s season statistics average out to 34 games, scoring a goal and totaling seven points, a -1, eight penalty minutes, and averaging 13:17 a night. Expect Dobson to potentially sit when the NHL returns to play as Boychuk will likely be ready to play, and he would slot next to Andy Greene on the third pair.

The Bad:

When Noah Dobson started to get into the lineup every night after the Pelech injury, he had a tougher time in the defensive end. He didn’t play as much (12:00 vs 13:52) after the new year and he was struggling defensively (-4 vs +3). Overall, Dobson had a good season for a rookie defenseman who was only drafted two years ago, and with the likelihood of Andy Greene not coming back next season coupled with the possibility of a buyout or trade happening, Dobson should be getting more ice time next season.

The Expectations:

When Dobson made the NHL roster out of camp, the expectation from the fanbase was that he was going to rotate in every few games for Johnny Boychuk, and that was the case. Prior to the Pelech injury, he played in 11 out of 38 games. After the injury to Adam Pelech, it was expected that Dobson was going to slot in every night, and while he did not play every game, he did suit up in 23 of 30 games finish the regular season.

The Moment of the Season:

As said earlier, Noah Dobson got a major increase in games played after Adam Pelech went down to injury halfway through the season. On January 14th, 2020, the Islanders were getting ready to take on the Detroit Red Wings at Nassau Coliseum just like any other night. Well, rest assured, it was a game for the ages with the Islanders coming out on top by a final score of 8-2.

After Brock Nelson already scored a goal 1:59 into the period to make it 5-1 Islanders, the team took control of the puck in the offensive zone less than a minute later. Noah Dobson wristed a shot that seemed to be heading around the boards, but Alex Biega had other plans. Biega knocked the puck out of mid-air, and it went into the net for what many call, including Sportsnet in the clip below, the “Luckiest First Career Goal In NHL History”.

The Verdict:

Dobson did not start the year in the lineup every night, but due to injuries, he started to get in every game and usually impressed while he was on the ice. Hopefully, Dobson can continue to grow and improve on his rookie season ahead of next year where he will likely be on the ice for the entire season.

The Grade: 84/B

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