There have not been many bright spots in 2021-22 for the New York Islanders. Head coach Barry Trotz used the words “mentally crushing” to describe what has gone on through the first 53 games Tuesday afternoon.
But out of the darkness has been a positive light, and that positive light has been the play of 22-year old defenseman Noah Dobson.
Because of his play this season, especially as of late, the 12th overall pick in 2018 has received some praise from former NHL netminder and now NHL Network and ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes.
One young Defenseman on the rise and not getting enough shine ; @NYIslanders Noah Dobson. He’s smooth, silky, great vision, hockey I.Q, and has 10 PTS in his last 10 games.
He has some Cale Makar to his game.@espn @NHLNetwork @NHL #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) March 8, 2022
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar just put on a clinic against the New York Islanders on Monday night. He registered two goals and an assist, with eight shots in the Avalanche’s 5-4 victory.
If not for Semyon Varlamov and his paddle, he would have had a hat trick.
Noah Dobson did not have a bad night either, as he registered two power-play assists for his 29th and 30th points of the season and five shots on goal.
His first assist was a thing of beauty as he showed shot before he slid the puck to a wide-open Anders Lee to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Things we like:
– THAT pic.twitter.com/QaTIiDJXEn
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 8, 2022
Dobson’s second assist, which led to another Lee tally, showed off not only Dobson’s quick thinking but a quick execution as well.
— nopClips (@nopClips) March 8, 2022
As Weekes said, Noah Dobson has 10 points over his last 10 games.
This season has been a coming-out party for the talented youngster, but it was just a matter of time.
“We all saw it from the whenever he was drafted right,” teammate Adam Pelech said. “But it’s great to see him really take off this year.”
“You see the plays he makes like last night. A couple of great passes to Lee there,” Pelech continued. “And yeah, (Dobson’s) doing a great job getting pucks through to the net from the point on the power (play).”
Three of Dobson’s last 10 points have come on the power play.
But Pelech was not done praising Dobson.
“Five on five as well, I mean, not just in the offensive zone, all over the ice his game has improved a ton over the past few years.”
Dobson leads the New York Islanders in shots on goal, with 132 in 53 games. He is third on the Islanders in points (30), leads all Islanders defenseman by a country mile in goals (10, Pelech next with 3), and his 20 assists ha him tied with Josh Bailey for second on the Islanders.
This season, Dobson has played 21:11 minutes per game, only trailing the minute-eating Pelech by 10 seconds.
Dobson has quickly become one of the most relied upon defensemen for Trotz and has earned the trust given his play. But by no means is Dobson a finished product, and that’s what’s scary.
He needs to shore up his defensive game, with bulking up probably on his “to-do” list this offseason to help his chances at knocking the bigger bodies away from his net and off the puck in corners.
At 22, Dobson has already cemented himself as a top four-defenseman in a defensive-minded system. It seems that the Dobson that we have seen since December is the Dobson that everyone envisioned.
Since Dec. 1, Dobson has 26 points in 36 games (10 goals, 16 assists) after just four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his first 15 games of the season.
Now, will Dobson ever be as good as Makar? What Makar is doing at the young age of 23 is ridiculous, and being surrounded by elite players like Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Devon Toews (yes, I wrote what I wrote) have made him even stronger.
But what Weekes said is true. The flashiness, the deceptiveness, the quick-thinking that Cale Makar shows on a nightly basis is what Noah Dobson has shown as this season has progressed. And with the confidence as high as it has ever been, it won’t be long before the entire NHL is aware of Noah Dobson.
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