When looking at this team, it seems fairly clear to me that the New York Islanders are going to have Noah Dobson in a bigger role. During the regular season, the 21-year-old, played in 46 games putting up 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists).
At a .30 point per game pace, that would have him at roughly 25 points over a full season. Dobson also saw his ice time take a step forward. In his first year, he averaged 13:17 with a nice bump up to 16:24.
While that was a good step for him, his playoff ice time was still very low. He averaged just 13:55 of ice time in 19 playoff games. There were four times in the Pittsburgh series where he saw his ice time go over 17 minutes but twice we saw a sub-10 minute night for him.
So what could a reasonable step forward look like for Noah Dobson? Well, let’s figure it out together.
Projecting Noah Dobson’s Leap
I think the first thing we have to figure out is what is his ice time going to look like. Last year, his minutes increased by 23.5%. Will he have that kind of increase again? If so, that would put him at a tad over 20 minutes per night.
With Nick Leddy gone and Andy Greene another year older, one would assume that roughly 20 minutes per night is probably pretty likely for Noah Dobson.
In terms of point production, he was at a .21 PPG pace in his first year and a .30 this past year, for an increase of 42.9%. Another increase like that would put him at .43 PPG which is a pace right around 35 points.
Granted, this isn’t a perfect way of projecting what he is going to do, but does 35 points and 20 minutes a night really sound off from what we are expecting a leap to look like?
What this doesn’t account for is an increased power play role. Last year Dobson was third on the Islanders in ice time for defensemen on the man advantage at 87:19 with Nick Leddy (124:15) and Ryan Pulock (107:28) in front of him.
While Dobson received less time, his numbers were fairly close to Leddy and Pulock in some key stats:
Nick Leddy: 87.9 CF%, 89.64 xGF%, 87.5 HDCF%
Ryan Pulock: 85.6 CF%, 92.8 xGF%, 93.6 HDCF%
Noah Dobson: 81.2 CF%, 88.8 xGF%, 89.3 HDCF%
To me, this implies that Dobson can be a candidate to replace Nick Leddy on the power play. The question I think becomes does Barry Trotz trust an 80 game sample size enough (over two years) to allow him to make the leap.
If you’re combining both COVID shortened seasons into one he would’ve been at 80 games, 21 points (4 goals, 17 assists), and 15:04 of ice time per game. Not bad for a 20/21-year-old in their first “season”.
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Barry Trotz trusted Devon Toews (an older prospect) pretty early on, he’ll likely have to do it again with Noah Dobson too.