The NY Islanders should be in no rush to extend Noah Dobson this summer

Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) passes the puck
Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) passes the puck / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson is going to get paid.

It's not a matter of if; it's a matter of when. We know that GM Lou Lamoriello loves to retain the players he knows best, and when it comes to his top players, he has been inclined to do it a year early.

He extended Mathew Barzal to an eight-year contract before the 2022-23 season and handed out an eight-year deal to goaltender Ilya Sorokin on Jul. 1st with one year remaining on his contract before unrestricted free agency. That leads us to the 24-year-old Dobson, who has one year remaining on the three-year $12M bridge deal he signed after his 2021-22 breakout 51-point season.

After putting up 49 points (13G, 36A) in 78 games during the 2022-23 campaign, Dobson took his game to new offensive heights this season, becoming the first Isles' defenseman with at least 70 points since 1983-84 when Denis Potvin had 85, and the first with at least 60 assists since 1983-84, when Potvin recorded 63. The only two Islanders with more assists in a season than Dobson's 60 this year are Mathew Barzal and Pierre Turgeon.

He is an unquestioned part of the team's core moving forward. Earlier this week on the 32 Thoughts Podcast, NHL insider Jeff Marek said a new Dobson contract could be as much as 8 x 8 for the 2018 1st-round pick. Lamoriello said this week that the "sky's the limit" for Dobson, who he accurately predicted would become one of the best offensive defensemen in the league before the season.

So, should the Islanders extend him this summer? The $8M AAV would slide Dobson in as the fourth-highest-paid Islander behind Barzal, Sorokin, and Bo Horvat. There's a valid argument that if Dobson's production goes up at the same time the salary cap does, his market rate will rise as well. However, Dobson will still be a restricted free agent (RFA) after next season, and while the talk of offer sheets comes and goes each off-season, they are rare.

If Lamoriello aims to extend Dobson this summer, it'll be after a career year and one of the best offensive seasons by a defenseman in franchise history. The Islanders will still have leverage after this season, regardless of the numbers Dobson puts up - they should use it.

Lamoriello handed Sorokin his mega-extension after he was a Vezina Finalist. What would that contract look like after this season? Probably very different. If Dobson takes his game to an even higher level, an All-Star level, next season, it will cost the Islanders marginally more. However, if they make that commitment now and Dobson fails to repeat his beyond-stellar season, they run the risk of paying a higher AAV when fellow defenseman Alexander Romanov will also be due another contract, and they're already locked into long-term deals with Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield.

Based on his production last season, the rumored $8M AAV is a fair market rate, but every bit of cap space matters. Given how Dobson slowed down towards the end of the regular season and failed to make an impact in the series against Carolina, it may serve Lamoriello best to watch and see if Dobson can repeat his production next year before starting negotiations.

Lou has often said that if you have time, you should use it. He should take his own advice.