2. Noah Dobson
It's been a coming-out party for the 24-year-old Prince Edward Island native, just short of his career highs and only at the halfway point of the season. Noah Dobson is on pace for a point-per-game as a defenseman, something that hasn't been done since the days of Denis Potvin. With 42 points to this point, Dobson is only nine short of his career high of 51, accomplished in 2021-22.
With the injury bug stinging the Islanders' blue line time and time again this season, Dobson has been called on nearly more than any player in the NHL. Averaging 25:51 per game, Dobson trails only Drew Doughty of the LA Kings by nine seconds for the league lead.
Currently third in the NHL in power play points by a defenseman, behind only Cale Makar and Evan Bouchard - Dobson, along with Barzal, have been the most significant differences on the power play. He's become the quarterback from the point the team has been missing since Mark Streit.
While his offensive numbers have been through the roof, he hasn't forgotten his defensive responsibilities. Seldom used on the penalty kill in years past, he's been thrust into the situation and has held his own for the most part. The Islanders' penalty kill is among the league's worst, but it's difficult to pin that on Dobson, who's been far from their greatest issue while a man down.
There is an argument to be made that Dobson has been the team's MVP, but one player may be more crucial to the Islander's success to this point.