EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Noah Dobson is still developing into a shut-down two-way defenseman and a top-tier power-play quarterback, but the 23-year-old New York Islanders blueliner ultimately wants to add another facet to his game sooner rather than later.
“I feel comfortable on the penalty kill and I feel like the coaching doesn’t mind me going out there as well,” Dobson told amNewYork on Friday. “I think it’s a circumstance where I’m out there on the power play and [Scott] Mayfield and [Ryan] Pulock are obviously two great killers on the right side and thankfully, we’re really healthy… but it’s something I want to add to my game eventually.”
During the Islanders’ 2-1 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night at UBS Arena, Dobson recorded 2:39 on the penalty kill — an extended run for a young defenseman who played just over 37 minutes while a man down all of last season.
While he described his time on the PK as “a work in progress,” it’s also the logical next step in his career, which appears as though it will be gradually built up.
“I feel like when one of those guys are in the box or hurt, I’m the next guy in,” Dobson said. “So the preseason is good for those reps and growing and learning to try and get really good at the kill… We have six really capable players that can play 20 minutes a night, but the problem is there aren’t 20 minutes for each guy, you know?”
There is experience shouldering major minutes in such a role. During his junior days in the QMJHL with Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Dobson was one of his side’s top penalty-killers. So it only feels like a matter of time before he adopts such a role with the Islanders.
“He’s a complete player. It takes time. The little things take time but if you look back to his junior days, he did it all,” fellow defenseman and one of the Islanders’ top penalty killer, Ryan Pulock, said of Dobson. “He’s had experience with that and it takes time in the NHL. Everyone is on different paths and some guys are quicker learners in certain areas, but for him, he has all the tangibles.
“He’s smart, he’s skilled, he’s big. I think one day, he’s going to be in that position. It could even come this year. Guys get banged up, a couple d-men in the penalty box. You need everyone to be comfortable in those situations and he’s going to be put in that spot at times this year.”