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New York Islanders

Islanders Noah Dobson Finding His Game in Bizarre Season




New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz isn’t overwhelming young defenseman Noah Dobson with a ton of minutes in his first season as a regular in the lineup. However, in the 17:55 of average ice time he has seen through the first 11 games of the season Dobson has continued to make impressive strides.

Dobson’s new role has a much different feel to it than the 34 games he played in during the 2019-20 season while Adam Pelech was out due to an injury. The Islanders defenseman appeared much more comfortable during his first 11 games this year, part of which had to do with having veteran Andy Greene besides him.

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“Kind of learning the ropes last year and come along slowly kind of made me come in this year a lot more comfortable and confident,” Dobson said on Wednesday after practice. “Just kind of know what to expect and I’ve been fortunate. Last year I was surrounded by and spent a lot of time with Johnny Boychuk, who was really a big part of my development. Really helped me along.

“I’m fortunate this year to play alongside Andy Greene, who has been in the league for a while. He’s played against the best players. He’s seen everything and knows what to do each night.”

So far the lessons that Noah Dobson got from Boychuk last year and Greene this year have been paying off. The 21-year-old has six points (one goal, five assists) this season and leads all Islanders defenseman in points.

Dobson is also tied for third among all skaters in points this season.

Like any young player, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz expects there to be good games and ones that his age will show a bit more. The Isles bench boss said part of the learning curve is not trying to do too much on your own when you’re out on the ice.

“Noah’s attributes are two-fold. One he can pass the puck very well and I think he’s a really easy skater,” Trotz said. “Sometimes with a guy like Noah for instance, just let the puck do the work. His greatest assets are his ability to pass the puck and skate, and do that. That’s probably the simplest thing. This game can humble you when you try to take it over by yourself, so you just want to make sure you’re doing the simple, right things all the time.

“It’s amazing then your skill sort of come out on the other end.”

Noah Dobson is getting quite the season to learn his new role. The NHL is in the middle of a condensed 56 game schedule, which means there aren’t a lot of nights off between games.

The Islanders have benefited from a few games being postponed due to COVID-19, but the year remains a grind and one that Dobson is learning to manage.

“You have to learn to prepare each night to play your best,” Dobson said. “I think that’s just been something I’ve been learning along the way. Just how important the mental side of the game is with so many games each and every night. You have to have a short memory, prepare like a pro and make sure you’re preparing  to bring your best each night.”


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