The decision to sit Noah Dobson for Braydon Coburn on Sunday didn’t sit well with some people. Why was New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz sitting one of the team’s young talented defenseman for the veteran defenseman?
Up until Sunday, the Islanders had kept the same defensive unit together for most of the regular season barring any injuries. The insertion of Coburn, who the Islanders acquired just before the trade deadline, marked the first time Trotz opted to voluntarily change his defensive unit.
“This is a grind and Noah the last couple of games hasn’t been the Noah that I want and I expect,” Trotz said after Sunday’s win. “Sometimes getting a little breather. … This is a grind for the young players. The mental grind they’re not used to it night in and night out. Some of the young players have gotten by on skill in the past. Even when they’re not at their best, they still contribute and you can’t do it at this time of year.”
Noah Dobson had been held without a point since returning from COVID-19 protocol at the beginning of the month. He had missed eight games in March due to the virus.
The young defenseman has been logging an average of 16:22 during the 36 games he has appeared in this season. Noah Dobson has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in that span as well during his time paired with veteran blueliner Andy Greene.
Prior to Sunday, it had appeared that Dobson had been viewed as a mainstay in the Islanders lineup this season. Dobson is third among Islanders defensemen in CF% with a 50.92 and xGF with a 2.23, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Trotz has consistently held a tight leash on the younger players during his time on Long Island. Trotz also pointed to a drop in Oliver Wahlstrom’s game when addressing the decision with Dobson.
“You have to be sharp mentally and if you’re sharp mentally then the physical tolls will go from there,” Trotz said. “I’ve noticed it’s on the young guys. Not to point out Noah and Wahlly. It’s just a fact of life with some of the young guys.”
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) April 18, 2021
Coburn played 12:43 in Sunday’s overtime win over Philadelphia. The Islanders bench boss was happy with the way that Coburn played, calling it a “very responsible game.”
“There’s no frills,” Trotz said. “Exactly what you saw tonight was probably what Braydon brings. He brings some size and length in the defensive end. He keeps the game pretty simple.”
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