If the NY Islanders do not regret bridging Noah Dobson's contract after the 2021-2022 season, they soon will. Dobson, who signed a three-year deal with an average annual value (AAV) of $4M after the expiration of his rookie deal, will be a restricted free agent with arbitration eligibility when this contract expires after next season.
He could not have picked a better year to be a Norris Trophy contender. On July 1, Dobson will be eligible to extend his contract, and it would behoove the Islanders to lock him up long-term as soon as possible. When Dobson hits RFA status on July 1, 2025, he will be one year away from UFA status. Therefore, if Dobson were so inclined, he could simply accept the Isles' qualifying offer in the summer of 2025 and walk himself right to UFA on July 1, 2026. Needless to say, that would be a disastrous outcome for the Islanders.
So the Islanders have an incentive to sign Dobson long-term this upcoming summer. But what will that cost?