Yesterday was the first day of New York Islanders training camp, but today was the first day of the on-ice portion of camp. And while you should never take lines or pairs too seriously from the first day of training camp, seeing Noah Dobson and Zdeno Chara together is incredible.
Again, these lines or pairs might not stay together for the entirety of the season. But putting Dobson next to Chara on day one tells you why they brought in the big man. Not only is he still an effective defenseman, but he’s one hell of a mentor.
New York Islanders pair Chara with Dobson on day 1
Ask the parade of defensemen who’s learned from Chara over the years. Guys like Brandon Carlo, Dougie Hamilton, and Charlie McAvoy all got to learn something from Big Z. And now it’s Dobson’s turn.
This is a big year for Dobson. The training wheels will come off as he takes a big step on the Islanders blueline after the Nick Leddy trade. Learning from and leaning on Chara will be a huge benefit to Dobson.
Reports from camp already note that Dobson is constantly checking in with Chara through day 1.
Chara won’t teach Dobson how to lug the puck up the ice or how to find the best way to execute a cross-slot pass. But he will teach Dobson when it’s appropriate to pinch at the blueline or when it’s appropriate to make a risky offensive play.
Dobson already has Barry Trotz to teach him the defensive side of the game but Barry isn’t on the ice with Noah. The coach has to hope Dobson hears him barking orders on the bench or he’ll wait till he’s back from his shift to instill some wisdom. But with Chara out there on the ice wisdom can be dispatched immediately.
We’ll see if this pair sticks through training camp, but I have a feeling they might very well see a lot of playing time during the season.