Drafted 12th overall by the New York Islanders in 2018, Noah Dobson is a big-time prospect for the Islanders. But can he be that true number one?
In his draft year, Noah Dobson not only scored 69 points in 67 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titans, but he won the QMJHL championship followed by the 2018 CHL Memorial Cup. It’s why New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello didn’t hesitate to take him at number 12.
The 18-year-old blueliner not only puts up points but has the maturity of a player beyond his years. He’s clearly a building block for the New York Islanders in years to come.
But with the problems on defense that the Islanders had last year as well as this season, how soon until we see Noah Dobson in orange and blue?
In an article on ESPN.com, their prospects insider Chris Peters ranked the top 100 prospects (subscription required) in the NHL. Noah Dobson was ranked as number 22. This list counted players like Rasmus Dahlin that are already at the NHL level. So 22 overall makes sense.
Peters followed up that piece with a few other NHL writers for ESPN.com where they were answering what prospect they’d build around. Outside of the top 20 prospects, Peters focused on Noah Dobson.
"[…] a guy that I think has an incredibly bright future is the one I put at No. 22, future New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson. Part of what I see for Dobson’s future is that he has a clear path to being the No. 1 blueliner in New York. He was dominant down the stretch last year in leading Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL to the Memorial Cup. When I saw him again this summer at Canada’s World Junior camp, he was Canada’s best defenseman by a mile."
That’s some high praise for the Islanders blueliner. Peters goes on to say that while Dobson can be that number one guy, he doubts that he can put up an elite level of points like a Burns or Karlsson. (Peters doesn’t say Karlsson or Burns, but both are elite scorers on the blueline.)
Considering that we know Noah Dobson molds his game after Alex Pietrangelo, that statement makes sense. Pietrangelo has a career-high 54 points across his eleven-year NHL career. That 54 point season is still pretty good. It ranked 13th in the NHL last season amongst defensemen.
It’s not an “elite” return, but Pietrangelo is still one of the better producers from the blueline as well as one of the best in his own end.
How Long To Wait
Tell any New York Islanders fan that they have a potential number one defenseman in the system that can reach the top 15 in the league in terms of points at his position and they’ll all ask how long it will take for him to get here? Because we could use him now.
Defensively the New York Islanders still seem poor. Mental mistakes still dominate the Islanders blueline. Against the Sharks, on the road, those mental mistakes were apparent for all to see.
So how long till he makes the Islanders team?
I think as soon as next season the New York Islanders will take a good look at Dobson. By that I mean, they’ll give him that nine-game tryout before deciding what to do with him.
If he dominates the QMJHL again this year it doesn’t necessarily make sense to send him back to the ‘Q’ in 2019-20. But since Dobson only turns 20 in January of 2020 he can’t join the AHL at the start of the 2019-20 season. So if not the NHL, then he’ll have to play in the QMJHL.
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Ultimately I feel Noah Dobson passes the New York Islanders nine-game test in 2019-20 and makes the team full-time. Giving the team a right side of Ryan Pulock, Noah Dobson and Johnny Boychuk. Fantastic.