Calder (Best rookie) – Noah Dobson
You might think that the rookie of the year for the Isles is a no brainer. Noah Dobson is the only rookie currently on the Isles roster right now. So, naturally, he gets the award uncontested, right?
But he wasn’t always the only one on the roster. Remember that Oliver Wahlstrom got a shot when Jordan Eberle was out with an injury early in the year. If Wahlstrom had played well enough he could have forced the Islanders hand to keep him up.
Unfortunately for Wahlstrom, after a nine-game stint – and with a healthy Eberle – he wasn’t able to prove that he belongs to stick around. So back to the AHL he went.
The same story applied to Otto Koivula who got a seven-game stint in the NHL. Just like Wahlstrom he didn’t do enough to warrant staying up. Although, unlike Wahlstrom, Koivula played primarily in the bottom six and only got more than ten minutes of ice time once. It came against the Red Wings when the Islanders sat their top-six players during an 8-2 victory.
Other rookies got a chance to prove themselves, only Dobson stayed. Of course, the fact that he couldn’t play in the AHL for the season facilitated that decision for the Islanders.
Now that Adam Pelech is out with a season-ending injury, Dobson is getting consistent ice-time and is playing every day. As a result, he’s growing into his role and gaining confidence in his game.
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Dobson only just turned 20 so he’s still making mistakes every now and then, but those mistakes are becoming less frequent with the more ice-time he logs. It’s easy to see why the Islanders drafted him 12th overall in 2018.