Noah Dobson - $4M AAV
After a breakout 2021-22 season where he scored 13 goals and 38 assists, Dobson was a restricted free-agent, and there was discussion as to whether or not he had shown enough to earn a long-term commitment rather than a bridge deal. Nevertheless, in late August, the team announced that the 22-year-old defenseman had signed a three-year contract extension with an AAV of $4M per year.
“He has to continue to grow the way he did this year,” GM Lou Lamoriello said at the time when questioned about a possible long-term extension for the defenseman. “We have to see a little more from Noah to make that long-term decision.”
A year and a half later, Dobson is on his way to showing Lamoriello and the rest of the front office that he's worth a long-term deal. Despite facing criticism for his lack of development on the defensive end a year ago, Dobson followed up his 51-point season with 49 points (13G, 36A) and received praise from Lamoriello before the season, projecting him to be among the best offensive defenseman in the league. Through 18 games, he has five goals and ten assists, tied with Barzal for the team lead in points, and has been in more command as a power-play quarterback than last season.
The Isles will enjoy one more year with Dobson making $4M AAV before his AAV heads northward, and is likely to surpass the deals Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock signed before the 2021-22 season.