Noah Dobson's stellar season is slumping at the worst time for the NY Islanders

Mar 7, 2024; San Jose, California, USA;  New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) passes the
Mar 7, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) passes the / Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson hasn't just had a good season; he's had a great season, and it will be hard to look back on it in any way other than favorable when the regular season ends. However, the 24-year-old, who had been in the Norris Trophy conversation, is slumping at the worst possible time for an Islanders team desperately trying to remain playoff-relevant.

In the Stadium Series matchup against the New York Rangers at MetLife Stadium, Dobson had a three-assist game, the sixth time he did that this season. However, 10 seconds into overtime, Dobson made a costly turnover, as his pass was intercepted by Artemi Panarin, leading to the game-winning goal and arguably the most brutal loss in a season of brutal losses for the Islanders.

“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Dobson said after the game. He gets the puck out of midair. They take a shot, and it goes in.” Dobson's three assists put in over a point-per-game pace, and the Isles were on their way to a signature win. The defenseman's stand-out performance led the way until the game turned, and so has his season since.

Following the outdoor loss, his remarkable season hasn't resembled that of his breakout season. In the 17 games since Dobson has just one goal and six assists. As the team's power play has struggled, so has Dobson, who has been without a point in the last five games and has just one assist in his last nine games. He had not gone more than two games without a point before this stretch.

What could be the reason for Dobson's slowdown? It could be possible that he's hit a bit of a wall. This isn't his first 82-game regular season, but as the team battled injuries on the blue line throughout the first half of the year, he was routinely logging more than 25 minutes a night and is still averaging 25:08 TOI, though his ice time has become more manageable with the return of Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock to the lineup. The less he's played, the less effective he has been

Dobson is the first Islander defenseman with at least 65 points since 1984-85 and, with 57 assists, is still more than likely to be the first to hit 60 assists in 40 years (Denis Potvin, 1983-84). If he doesn't record another point, it will still be among the best offensive seasons from any defenseman in franchise history. Yet, the trajectory of the Islanders' season has coincided with the downturn in the game of some of the players they count on the most, and Dobson is at or near the top of that list.