It’s kind of been a weird start to the season for Noah Dobson. In the New York Islanders‘ seven games this year he’s spent time with Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene while also seeing varying ice times as well.
The hope was the Dobson would be able to take the leap forward and be the puck-mover the Islanders were lacking but that really hasn’t been the case, at least at a consistent level. Over the first seven games, here is a look at his corresponding ice time and game score (data via Hockey Stat Cards):
- Game 1: 20:07 | 1.28
- Game 2: 20:34 | -1.14
- Game 3: 16:31 | 1.08
- Game 4: 19:07 | 1.74
- Game 5: 20:04 | – 0.02
- Game 6: 14:00 | 0.74
- Game 7: 17:22 | – 0.25
His average game score of 0.49 ranks him second among defensemen with Adam Pelech leading the way at 0.91. He’s looked, at least eye test wise, more comfortable with Andy Greene as opposed to Zdeno Chara but as a result, that means the Isles have to split Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock because the Zdeno Chara and Scott Mayfield pair would be the slowest pair in the league by a mile.
Through 87 career games over three seasons, Dobson has kind of been like this the entire time. There are really good moments and games where he’s getting 20 minutes of ice time and looking like a good power play quarterback and then there are other times he’s out there for 14 minutes because Barry Trotz doesn’t trust him that night.
For sure, Noah Dobson has been far from the Islanders’ biggest problem on defense, it’s obvious where the deficiencies are truly showing right now, but I don’t think it’s too much to have had higher expectations for him at this point.
After losing Devon Toews and Nick Leddy in back-to-back years, it looked like the 22-year-old was in line to be the next one up in that top-four role. The wait continues (for now).