If you had to pinpoint exactly one thing about the New York Islanders that went well this season, Noah Dobson would probably be a popular answer. Coming into his third NHL season, Dobson had yet to participate in a full, 82-game schedule. He skated in 34 of 68 games for the Islanders in 2019-20 and just one game in the postseason. In 2020-21, Dobson skated in 46 of 56 games, as well as all 19 games in the playoffs. You could see the growing pains in his first two seasons, but in year three, Dobson found his stride.
Defense: Sebastian Aho|Zdeno Chara
Forwards: Josh Bailey|Mathew Barzal|Anthony Beauvillier|Kieffer Bellows|Casey Cizikas|Cal Clutterbuck|Anders Lee|Brock Nelson|Matt Martin|Kyle Palmieri|Jean-Gabriel Pageau|Zach Parise|Oliver Wahlstrom
Team Level: New York Islanders
Islanders 21-22 record card: Noah Dobson
In 80 games, Dobson accrued 13 goals and 51 points. He became the first Islanders defenseman to hit 50-plus points in a season since Mark Streit tallied 56 in 2008-09 and the first defenseman to score 10 or more goals since Ryan Pulock in 2019-20.
Dobson was a healthy scratch on Nov. 15th against the Tampa Bay Lightning after a slow start to the season. He drew back in the very next game, but it really all started to come together on New Year's Day.
The then 21-year-old defenseman scored the game-winning goal in overtime to start 2022 off win celebration. From there, Dobson took off and began to blossom into the defenseman the Islanders anticipated he could be when they selected him 12th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. For his breakout season on the scoresheet, Dobson gets an A.
Dobson definitely still went through growing pains in his own end, but a closer look at the analytics suggests he was actually pretty good. He's working on his puck-moving skills and has the ability to skate the puck up ice and away from danger. His relative expected goals against at 5on5 this season was a solid -0.02, good for fifth among Islander defenseman that skated in 300 or more minutes and just 0.01 point behind Adam Pelech.
For meeting expectations defensively and doing so with a 45-year-old Zdeno Chara (who received an F in this category) as his defensive partner, Dobson gets a B.
Impact vs. Reliance: B+
Dobson wound up playing the most games of any Islander defenseman this season due to a plethora of Covid protocols and injuries. He logged the second-most minutes, however, ranks third overall with 16:56 TOI/G.
In contrast with his game score, Dobson logged a respectable 0.49 ranking him the second-most impactful defenseman, again behind Pelech. Because his impact outweighs his reliance and he's nearing the elite territory, Dobson gets a B+.
Final Grade: B+
Islander fans can be excited about Dobson. They have a future All-Star and Norris candidate in the making and his arrival at the NHL level made the 2021-22 season a little more bearable than it could have been.