In what is shaping up to be a lost season, there is usually little positive to focus on. But while the New York Islanders are sliding into a non-playoff spot for the first time in four years, youngster Noah Dobson is taking a big step forward.
Against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, Dobson recorded a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win. That puts him on eight goals and 22 points in his 42 game season. A pace that, should he maintain, would net him 15 goals (yeah, 15) and 42 points.
New York Islanders Noah Dobson's step up and role model
The last time the Islanders saw a defenseman score 15 or more goals in a single season was in 2008-09 when Mark Streit scored 16 goals and 56 points in 74 games. Desperate for any goal-scoring, getting that type of production from the back end is vital for the Islanders now and going forward.
Consider all that goal-scoring for Dobson has come in the last 25 games. In those 25 games, he's picked up eight goals and 17 of his 22 points. So 100% of his goal scoring and 77% of his production have come in the back half of his season.
This is a new Noah Dobson than the one we saw at the start of the season. You know, the Noah Dobson who was made a healthy scratch for a game. A "punishment" he deserved mind you.
Now, also consider Dobson only just turned 22 this past January. This is still his 21yo season. He's still going to get better. He's just entering his peak. There's still more to come from Dobson.
Can he become one of the top producers in the league from the back end? Dobson certainly molds his games after one; Alex Pietrangelo. Since 2010-11 Pietrangelo is ninth for goals and seventh for points amongst the league's defensemen.
Dobson is certainly following Pietrangelo's arch, at least at the NHL level. Pietrangelo's 21yo season saw him score eleven goals and put up 43 points for the Blues. If Dobson can continue following that arch isn't clear but it will be something to watch for closely. So far so good though.