In the New York Islanders 4-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, defenseman Noah Dobson scored his ninth goal of the campaign. That's three times the goal-scoring he put up last season in the 46 games he played. And it actually gets better than that.
Dobson didn't start popping in goals until December 5th, and according to MSG's resident stats guy for Isles broadcast Eric Hornick, no defenseman has scored more goals in that span:
New York Islanders unlocked the productive side of Noah Dobson's game
Now that doesn't mean Dobson is now officially better than Makar, the Calder winner in 2019-20 and the runner-up for the Norris in 2020-21 is on pace for an insane 30 goal season. Something that's only been done 17 times in NHL history and hasn't been done since Mike Green did it in 2008-09.
But it does highlight that something has been unlocked in Dobson's play. And not just when it comes to scoring goals. Since December 5th, when Dobson started filing the net with goals he's also added another 12 points for 21 in a 30 game span.
That ranks him 13th for scoring amongst all defensemen in the NHL. He's tied with Quinn Hughes, Shea Theodore, and Tony DeAngelo at 21 points since December 5th.
That doesn't make him one of the elite scoring defensemen in the league, but it easily places him in the next group just below the elite guys in the league. And he's only just turned 22 years old in January.
The key to unlocking that production from Dobson is giving him the confidence to get pucks on the net. As my friend Stefen Rosner perfectly pointed out over Twitter:
Dobson isn't shy to drill that puck on the net when an opportunity presents itself. That self-confidence is a big key to this flurry of production. His goal against the Ducks, a point shot that takes a fortunate deflection off a Ducks defender, doesn't happen if Dobson is shy to use that underrated shot of his.
There's still another level for Dobson to hit. Both in terms of production and in terms of his overall play.
While the production is real flashy, he's still making mistakes in the defensive zone. He's still got a lot to learn on how to be a top pair guy. But, again, he's still only just turned 22 years old. Defensemen take a little longer than forwards to hit their peak. With Barry Trotz at the helm, there's no doubt Dobson will get there.