On Monday morning, the New York Islanders signed three restricted free agents, including Noah Dobson. The 22-year-old is fresh of a career season with 13 goals and 38 assists in 80 games, as he really found his game in December.
His new contract with the New York Islanders is a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4 million. He will still be a restricted free agent when the deal expires after the 2024-25 NHL season.
During New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello’s press conference on Monday afternoon, he was asked if there were discussions about signing Noah Dobson to a long-term deal.
“Well, certainly there’s always an opportunity to do that. But where we feel Noah is at right now, to make that decision, you know from his group’s point of view, we have to see more with Noah,” Lamoriello said.
“You know, he has to continue to grow the way he did this year. So we certainly would love to sign any player as long as we can, for the right cap hit, the right price and I think we have to see a little more from Noah to make that long-term decision.”
There’s no doubting that the 22-year-old defenseman has significant upside. He showed his offensive ability, as not just a scorer, but a playmaker and more importantly a puck carrier, and transitioner. Where Dobson’s game lacks is on the defensive side of the puck, but there’s no reason he can’t improve that area of his game.
“What I like about him [Dobson], which most of us see, is hockey instincts and its offensive capabilities as far as reading plays,” Lamoriello said. “And I believe that the patience we had with him in a decision that we made to have him here rather than go back to juniors because he couldn’t go to American League [AHL), we knew he had the patience and he had the self-discipline to just practice every single day, get an opportunity every so often and just grew as a patient player, grew in strength and really worked at his game and had the opportunity to do that and put extra sessions in after regular practices, because he knew he wasn’t going to be playing.”
“And then when he had the opportunity to get full-time, ice time as he did last year, he grew throughout the season.”
We spoke to Noah Dobson shortly after.
“Back to the second half of the year, I was happy with the steps I took and I think just coming in the offseason just to try to really use the time we’ve had to take another step this year and just excited about the next three years to be able to continue and grow and build off my year last year.”
As for not signing a long-term deal, Dobson did not want to get into contract discussions.
“I mean, I don’t think need to get into, like negotiation talks but I think it just, the three-year deal came upon and it’s just what worked out best for both sides right now. Both sides went into the negotiations open-minded and I think I’m just really happy to be an Islander for the next three years.”
Prior to this past season, Noah Dobson played with Johnny Boychuk, then Andy Greene, before his time with Zdeno Chara. He’s had the ability to learn from some great mentors, but now as he enters his fourth season in the NHL, it’s up to him to put what he’s learned to the test.