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Islanders Noah Dobson barely played in Game 4, why?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Noah Dobson #45 of the New York Islanders prepares for the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Noah Dobson #45 of the New York Islanders prepares for the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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We’re used to barely seeing Noah Dobson on the ice for the New York Islanders. The second-year pro was barely used by Barry Trotz in the regular season. He averaging 16:24 this season. Which is up from the 13:17 he was getting last year. But last night in Game 4, Dobson barely played.

Even for how little he typically sees the ice.

Again, we’re used to not seeing him that much, even in the playoffs where he’s averaged less ice time than during the regular season. Dobson is hitting 13:37 in the playoffs. Last night was a playoff low for Dobson. He picked up 7:36 of total ice time (1:14 of that on the power play).

What happened?

Noah Dobson’s shockingly low ice-time for New York Islanders in Game 4

From what we know he isn’t injured. Dobson didn’t leave for the Islanders dressing room at any point in last night’s game. He was there but Barry Trotz and his staff just decided not to use Dobson.

From 3:45 of the third period to the end of the game, Dobson didn’t see the ice once. That last shift lasted a full second according to the NHL’s post-game shift chart. Dobson hopped over the boards at 3:44 of the third and then Dobson’s shift ended when Brayden Point scored at 3:45.

If you remember that goal, Dobson wasn’t the reason that Brayden Point’s shot beat Varlamov. As Point crosses the Islanders blue line, Andy Greene doesn’t gap up on the Tampa forward, leaving the leading playoff goal scorer – who was riding a six-game goal streak – with way too much space to shoot.

I’m not sure what Dobson could have done there to prevent the goal. As far as I understand the Islanders system the two defenders are supposed to stack up at the blueline when facing a rush chance as Greene and Dobson do. Also, forward 3 (Clutterbuck) is supposed to take the weak side of the ice as he did. Systematically the three played this well.

So Dobson shouldn’t be in the dog house for what was a great shot by Point or at the very least poor gap control by Greene.

That means it all comes down to just protecting a lead. That Trotz trusts Dobson so little to protect a lead that he’d rather have him on the bench than on the ice.

It’s hard to question Trotz when it comes to developing young defensemen. Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Seth Jones, John Carlson, Ryan Pulock, and Adam Pelech have all turned into elite-level defensemen under Trotz’s stewardship. But seeing Dobson ride pine for 16+ minutes at the end of the game is tough to see. At least we kind of know why, now?

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