Noah Dobson is having a hell of a season for the New York Islanders. With 47 points in 76 games played, Dobson is on pace for effectively a 50-point year. A return that hasn't been achieved by an Islanders defenseman since 2008-09.
And he's still young. At 22-years-old Dobson still isn't done growing. There are a few more years before Dobson reaches his peak. There's a ton of good in Dobson's game and there's still more to be found. But with that young age comes a few mistakes.
New York Islanders: Duality of Noah Dobson's game
In the last two games for the Islanders, we've seen both sides of the New York Islander defenseman. First is the positive. With the puck on his stick in the D-zone, Dobson charges forward through the neutral zone, around a Sabres defenseman, cuts to the slot, where he fires it up high on the Sabres goalie.
That was goal number 12 on the year for Dobson. The points are obviously great to have but to have a 10+ goal threat on the blueline again* is something the Islanders have been lacking.
*With all due respect to Ryan Pulock, he hasn't 10+ goals since 2019-20.
Dobson's offensive instincts are clearly of NHL caliber. But what isn't quite there are his defensive instincts. He's made some much-needed improvements over the year but he still needs some work. As evidence not 24 hours after that goal in Buffalo.
With the puck on his stick in the D-zone, Dobson is looking to make a play for his defensive partner. But somehow Dobson didn't see Derek Stepan directly behind him. So his backpass falls directly to the Hurricanes forward who fires it past Varlamov that wasn't ready for the massive mistake from the young defenseman.
And that's the duality of Noah Dobson. There's a bit of "give and take" still in his game. No doubt about it. Some days he'll leave you speechless with an incredible offensive play to not only create a goal but score one, and the next day he can leave just as speechless for being directly responsible for a goal-against.
But mistakes like these can be coached out of his game. The offensive side of Dobson's game can't be taught. So as Dobson continues his career we hope to see the duality reduced with the positives impacts continuing while the negative impacts get reduced.