Noah Dobson stands along the far boards near center ice with Zdeno Chara — the 6-foot-4 inch 21-year-old both figuratively and literally looking up to the 44-year-old future Hall of Famer.
He motions to the former Bruins captain and 2011 Stanley Cup winner and points to a spot on the ice. Chara speaks, his head signaling toward a similar spot. Dobson listens, Dobson nods.
The whistle blows and out they go toward the blue line to work on transition drills in the neutral zone.
They go back to the boards and talk some more.
So has been the relationship between Chara and one of the Islanders’ blueliners of the future that just so happens to be 23 years and five inches his junior at training camp over the last week.
It’s a responsibility nothing new to Chara, who was tasked in not only leading the Bruins as captain but mentoring a crop of young blueliners over the years. It’s why Islanders head coach Barry Trotz wanted to put him and Dobson together.
“I think there’s a respect [between the two of them],” Barry Trotz told amNewYork on Wednesday. “Noah thinks it’s a pretty neat thing to pick the brain of a future Hall of Famer, a guy who is so professional in his game and his life and has order.
“Z is tremendous with the young guys. Talks to them every shift. Communicates. That’s pretty special that way.”
Dobson has spent the entirety of his young NHL career playing alongside well-respected, proven veterans. During his first full season as a pro last year, he was paired with 38-year-old Andy Greene — a spring chicken compared to Chara.
But Greene helped impart the wisdom that made him such a steady presence on the New Jersey Devils’ blue line for 14 years that included a stint as team captain.
Should Trotz officially remove Dobson from Greene’s pairing and move him with Chara for the regular season — a promotion that would see Dobson move up from the Islanders’ third pairing to the second.
“We talk every day,” Greene said of Dobson. “We still sit next to each other in the locker room… He’s ready for the challenge and to take that next step this year.”
Two very good mentors for Dobson to have — and that isn’t lost on Trotz.
“From that standpoint, [Dobson] has had the opportunity the last two years to pick the brains of great guys like Greene,” Trotz said. “He has a lot of those subtleties that [Chara] doesn’t because he doesn’t have [Chara’s] size. You’re getting the best of both worlds… they’ve been very professional in allowing the young guys to pick their brains and to help them along and support them and grow them. That’s why they’re good leaders because they take care of the next guy.”