3 Off-Season Personnel Decisions for the NY Islanders

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Extend/Trade/Wait Regarding Noah Dobson

No player on the Islanders roster improved this season as much as Noah Dobson. The 24-year-old finished with a career high in points with 70 (10 G, 60 A), besting his previous high of 51. 

Nearly three-quarters of the way into the season Dobson was in contention to be a finalist for the Norris Trophy, but the last month of the season saw his production slip. He wasn’t elected to represent the Islanders at the All-Star but probably should have. 

Before the 2022 season, Dobson signed a three-year bridge deal worth $4M annually. With one year remaining on that deal, he's eligible to sign an extension with the Islanders beginning July 1st. 

While it seems like a no-brainer to extend Dobson to a maximum contract to remain with the organization through the prime of his career, he’s played four full seasons in the NHL and this is the first time he’s shown this type of production. While the first five months of the season were phenomenal, there was a big drop-off in the later part of the season, leaving one to wonder if he can maintain that offensive pace over a full season. 

There’s no reason not to believe Dobson isn’t looking at a max-term deal in excess of $8M a year. Before the 2021 season, Cale Makar signed a 6-year extension with the Colorado Avalanche with an AAV of $9M. While it’s hard to fathom him earning similar money to the league's top defenseman, there’s no reason he won’t start the bidding somewhere similar to Quinn Hughes ($7.85M) and Thomas Chabot ($8M).

Lou Lamoriello will have to decide if now is the time he’s willing to give Dobson that sort of term. The 81-year-old GM isn’t a fan of giving out contracts with this kind of money and term, but that’s now the lay of the land in the NHL.

If he’s not ready to shell out that kind of dough, he can always wait until the end of next season to extend Dobson, as he’ll still be an RFA after the 2024-25 season. But if he does put up a similar or even better season, Dobson’s camp could demand money in excess of $9M a year. 

The Islanders had the chance before 2021 to extend him long-term to what would now be a bargain contract, but they elected for the bridge deal which has worked out in Dobson’s favor.

The other option would be trading Dobson but that seems unlikely. He’s coming off the best offensive season for an Islanders defenseman since Denis Potvin. An offer would need to blow Lamoriello out of the water to offload a controllable 24-year-old blue liner due only $4M next season.