In 2020, Noah Dobson got his first chance in the NHL. This year, the Islanders will likely have him playing a regular role at the age of 21.
Last year, Noah Dobson served as the team’s seventh d-man playing in 34 games for the New York Islanders. In those 34 games, he played just 13:17 per night and had seven points (1 goal, 6 assists).
Dobson played over 17 minutes just four times last year and 14 times he played under 12 minutes. More often than not, he was getting well below your average third pair d-man’s ice time.
Clearly, Barry Trotz was trying to ease Dobson into his role but in 2021 he likely won’t have that luxury. The former first-round pick will likely be playing a regular role with the team due to the Johnny Boychuk career-ending injury and the Devon Toews trade.
What can we expect from Dobson in his first year in a full-time role?
While Andy Greene hasn’t officially been signed yet, I’m fairly confident in saying that he will be Noah Dobson’s running mate on the third pair. As I mentioned previously, Dobson was receiving only 13 minutes a night on average in 2020, that number is going to have to go up.
Expect that number to be at least 16 minutes and maybe closer to 17. I would be surprised if it gets to 17:30 or more, but if it does that likely means that Dobson is thriving early which is a great sign.
In 34 games last year, Dobson received 31:27 of power play time. That number should rise in 2021 as he should be the third defenseman behind Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock for power play time. Don’t expect to see him on the penalty kill just yet.
As far as points, I’m finding it hard to project what I think he can do in 2021. His floor and ceiling is so vastly different so I think I’ll split the difference and go somewhere in the middle. Playing 16:45. a night over a 56 game season, Dobson will have 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists).
If you were to pace that out over a full season that’s 25 points (7 goals, 18 assists). I think Dobson is someone who can eventually be a top-four defenseman, putting up over 30 points in a season but I’ll start him slow in his first year in the league.
If he exceeds these expectations, that’s just another reason to like the Islanders’ chances in 2021. Their blue line has a chance to be very solid for a long time.