Noah Dobson building strength over longer offseason, ‘excited’ to potentially play with Alex Romanov

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Noah Dobson Islanders
Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

For an organization that is often hesitant to rely heavily on younger players, Noah Dobson’s presence on the Islanders’ blue line over the last three seasons was indication enough of how highly he was regarded.

Last season, however, he took that first major step to show the rest of the NHL world that he could be on track to become one of the top defensemen in the game. 

The 22-year-old recorded 13 goals and 38 assists for 51 points in 80 games last year, becoming just the fourth Islanders defenseman in the last 30 seasons to record 50 or more points in a season and just the sixth blue liner aged 22 or younger to reach that benchmark — a list that includes the likes of Denis Potvin. 

An impressive second half helped spark Dobson’s leap, recording 37 points (8 goals, 29 assists) in his last 48 games of the season.

“I think looking back at the second half of the year I was happy with the steps I took,” Dobson said. “Coming out of the offseason, just really try to use the extra time we’ve had to take another step this year.”

His efforts weren’t enough to will an Islanders team trudging through an unprecedented set of circumstances — from record-long road trips to COVID outbreaks, to injuries — to the playoffs, which is something that nags the young defenseman. 

So he’s using it as motivation to up his game even further with a new three-year contract in hand.

“It was unacceptable,” he said. “I think I’m just trying to take advantage of a longer offseason. Haven’t had too many of those over the past two summers so just really trying to focus on getting stronger, adding some strength, and using that time to make the best of it.

“It’s been good to use that time. I feel like I’ve added some strength and have gotten a little bigger.”

With training camp starting up in one month, Dobson is expected to have a new defensive partner in Alex Romanov — the 23-year-old fast-skating, physical blue liner acquired from the Montreal Canadiens at the 2022 NHL Draft in June. 

Quite the age difference compared to his partner last year with 44-year-old Zdeno Chara.

“I think from the little I know, just watching him play, he’s a talented player,” Dobson said of Romanov. “He skates really well and he brings a physical presence out there too and a high compete level. I’m really excited to get to know him. If we do end up playing together, that’ll be great.”

For more on Noah Dobson and the Islanders, visit AMNY.com