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A Healthy Noah Dobson Poised to Lead Islanders in Round 1 – The Hockey Writers –

Noah Dobson New York Islanders

The New York Islanders announced Friday, April 19, that star defenseman Noah Dobson returned to practice after being listed as day-to-day. Dobson, who played just three shifts in the Islanders’ April 11 win over the Montreal Canadiens, has played a crucial role for the team this season, and his return is a massive win for the defense.

Dobson Carrying the Defense

Dobson finished the season with 10 goals and 70 points in 79 games, as well as a plus-12 rating. When drafted 12th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, fans knew of his offensive talent, and he was regarded as a great value pick. He has developed well, finding his groove at the NHL level alongside veterans Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara before stepping into a top-four role last season.

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This season, the team’s defense got obliterated with injuries, losing Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, and Sebastian Aho to long-term injuries. Dobson stayed healthy until the end and played a monumental role. He averaged 24:30 minutes a game, finishing 13th in the NHL in ice time with 1936 minutes. He played on the power play, penalty kill, and whichever partner he was given. Getting him back for the playoffs is a huge relief for the Islanders. With Dobson now healthy, head coach Patrick Roy will not have to send out Robert Bortuzzo the entire series, having almost all of his options healthy.

Dobson Offensively Gifted

Heading into the season, a Dobson breakout was due. He scored 13 goals and 49 points last season, and he took significant steps in his development. He looked taller and stronger, and he drove the offense. When Mat Barzal went down with an injury late in the season, Dobson took over the puck-carrying duties, showing what he was capable of. This season, with a healthy offense, he has broken out.

Noah Dobson, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The 2022-23 Islanders had the league’s third-worst power play. It was abysmal, creating little to no high-danger looks, and they struggled to establish possession in the offensive zone. This season, while still far from perfect, has been a different story, with the team finishing with a nearly 5% higher success rate, skyrocketing to a league-average power play. While this is not the most impressive feat, it is massive for the Islanders who are a strong even-strength team and needed a slight boost on the man advantage.

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This power play success has been a result of Dobson’s experience and patience…

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