At the start of the 2021-22 NHL season, New York Islanders fans were skeptical about their strength on the blue line. A question mark was left on one of the defensive lines after losing Nick Leddy in the offseason.
Noah Dobson is having a career year on defense. His touch of offensive style has helped him come up big in recent games. So far, Dobson played 26 games and put up a total of 14 points.
Towards the start of the season, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz made the decision to make “personnel changes” leading up to playing a game in Tampa back in November. This decision included scratching Dobson from the lineup.
Power-play finally becomes powerful
Dobson evolved the Islanders power-play, closing out 2021 and into 2022. At the beginning of the season, many fans would agree to “wave the man advantage” due to how rocky the Isles performed.
At the beginning of December, Dobson set up Oliver Wahlstrom with a beautiful pass and recorded a power-play assist. A few games later, Mat Barzal back-handed the puck to Dobson who rocketed the puck into the back of the net.
Dobson grows his game
All of December, for the games that were played, Dobson displayed multiple "perfect" games. His grit, speed, and skill grew tremendously and we are finally seeing the product we wanted Dobson to turn into.
His role of being an offensive defenseman only benefited the Islanders. Struggling with players in COVID-19 protocol and/or injuries gave Dobson time for redemption.
Specifically, when Dobson is seen on the ice with Mat Barzal and Anders Lee, he is prone to be the most successful. Their chemistry for both passes and plays led to nothing but goals.
On New Year's Day, Dobson assisted Lee’s power-play goal to start the scoring off against Connor McDavid and the Oilers. After playing a hard-fought game, the score was tied at two closing out the third.
Dobson, Barzal, and Lee took the ice for three on three overtime. Dobson silenced the Oilers most powerful overtime unit (and possibly the most powerful in the NHL) by recording his first-ever overtime goal and erupted the UBS Arena crowd.
Dobson’s great push for success this season is standing out and it seems to only be going up from here. The real question is: Noah Dobson for Norris?