Is Noah Dobson the New York Islanders' best defenseman? No. But is Noah Dobson the Islanders' best offensive defenseman? You bet - and he thinks he can be better.
Despite the perception that Dobson took a step sideways, if not back, last season, his offensive numbers were similar to his break-out 2021-22 campaign. The 23-year-old finished with 49 points (13G, 36A) after 51 points (13G, 38A) the previous season.
"I still feel like I have another gear offensively," said Dobson in the New York Post.
Fortunately for the young defenseman, GM Lou Lamoriello and head coach Lane Lambert are in agreement and don't think he's far off from getting there. Back in June, Lamoriello was outspoken in his defense of Dobson, who he felt was the center of too much criticism last season.
"I have high expectations for him. I think he's going to be one of your elite scoring defensemen in this league before his career is over," said Lamoriello back in June.
As for the head coach, Lambert thinks all that is left are subtle changes to get Dobson to the next level. "It's the littlest, that last part that is hardest to get to, Lambert noted. "This is a great league, great competition, and that becomes a demanding challenge."
"He's put up some good numbers over the last couple of years," Lambert said. "There's still another step he can have. It's a lot of the little things. “Whether it be deception on the power play, walking across the [blue] line, and then continue with his mentality to jump into the play."
If Dobson can reach that next level this season, it will help his team to that as well, and he will have proved his General Manager correct on muliple counts in doing so.