The New York Islanders decided to keep Noah Dobson on the roster but for now, he looks like he’ll be the team’s seventh defenseman.
With Noah Dobson, it was one of two options after training camp. The New York Islanders could keep him on the roster or they could send him back to his Junior team. Due to his age, he wasn’t eligible to play in the AHL with the Sound Tigers.
The Islanders decided to keep the 19-year-old defenseman on the NHL roster. As a result, Lou Lamoriello had to send veteran Thomas Hickey down to the AHL.
Since the Islanders manipulated their roster and sent an established NHL veteran through waivers you’d think Noah Dobson would play right? Well, not exactly.
Dobson was scratched for opening night, and this morning he was practicing with Luca Sbisa who is on a PTO (this year’s Dennis Seidenberg). All signs point to Noah Dobson being scratched again for tomorrow’s game against Winnipeg.
The thought was for Johnny Boychuk’s role to start being reduced. Boychuk, who is a couple of months shy of his 36th birthday, played 21:15 in the Islanders opener.
It’s one game so maybe he doesn’t play 20 minutes a night every night but based on his ice time last year, it appeared that Boychuk was going to be phased out. Throughout Boychuk’s career, he has struggled to stay healthy, in all likelihood Noah Dobson will get to play for an extended period of time at some point this year.
Understand, that Noah Dobson will get some action if he stays in the seventh d-man role even if there isn’t an injury, it just won’t be a majority of games.
Over the last few years, these are the numbers of games the Isles seventh d-man played:
2018-2019: Thomas Hickey/Luca Sbisa – 49
2017-2018: Brandon Davidson/Dennis Seidenberg – 43
2016-2017: Adam Pelech – 44
2015-2016: Brian Strait – 52
2014-2015: Brian Strait – 52
Yes, for the last two years I have two people in the role because of the Davidson trade in 2018 and Hickey’s injury last year. Nonetheless, you can expect your seventh defenseman to play about half of your games.
If you told me before the season start that Noah Dobson could play a full year in the QMJHL or 41 games in the NHL, I’d sign up for the 41 games any day. While it might be frustrating to see him in the press box early on this year just be patient.
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Sending Dobson back to the QMJHL would’ve accomplished nothing. A part-time NHL role is more valuable at this point than another year in Juniors.