Noah Dobson of the Islanders shoots the puck against the Golden Knights...

Noah Dobson of the Islanders shoots the puck against the Golden Knights at UBS Arena on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Noah Dobson, a last-minute planner when it comes to vacation trips, just knows he’s going to be somewhere warm over the All-Star break. His impressive start to the season did not earn him a spot for the festivities Thursday through Saturday in Toronto, based on fan balloting that turned into a Canadian popularity contest.

If he’s snubbed for the All-Star Weekend again in future years, Dobson may be able to afford some really exotic trips, given what his next contract likely will be.

Dobson, who turned 24 this month and  is in his fifth NHL season, has one more season remaining on his current three-year, $12 million deal before becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. With his continued development into one of the NHL’s elite defensemen, Dobson’s next deal could well be in the eight-year, $80 million range, provided he and the Islanders don’t settle for a short-term bridge deal that would take him to unrestricted free agency by age 27.

Has he given any thought to how life-changing his next deal likely will be?

 “Honestly, no, not at all,” Dobson told Newsday recently. “My focus is just each day showing up, trying to do what I can to help my teammates each night.

“That side of the thing, it’s easy to say you don’t think about it, right? But honestly, during the season, everything is happening so fast. You’re playing every other night. Those things take care of themselves. Just go out and play.”

Dobson added three more assists in the Islanders’ 4-3 loss in Montreal on Thursday night, giving him eight in a four-game point streak and extending his career high to 45. Along with his six goals, it matched his career high of 51 points heading into Saturday night’s game against the Panthers at UBS Arena, the Islanders’ last before their eight-day hiatus.

He set a career high of 13 goals – which he matched last season – to go with 38 assists for 51 points in 2021-22.

“I think the ceiling for him is very high,” said Islanders coach Patrick Roy, who also coached against Dobson briefly in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League. “He is a very good defenseman. I don’t think we’re going to teach him too much offense because he’s so good offensively. If we just could help him out with the defensive side and awareness and stuff like that, I think he’s going to be a premier defenseman in this league.”

Still, Dobson’s defensive improvement this season represents a giant step forward from past seasons.

Plus, as one of the team’s young veterans, he’s naturally started to develop into a leadership role.

Dobson did serve as captain his final season with Acadie-Bathurst in the then-Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He could well have an “A” for alternate slapped on his Islanders jersey in the next few seasons.

“It’s different in the junior level. You’re dealing with kind of the same age bracket of 16- to 20-year-olds,” Dobson said. “I’m not like a vocal guy. I like to go on the ice and be a leader that way, with my play.”

But does he see himself as an NHL captain?

“It’s a good question,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about it that way. I’m just trying to be a good teammate each day.”

From the pod

Guillaume Lefrancois, who covers the Canadiens for La Presse in Montreal, was a guest on Newsday’s Island Ice podcast episode 177, discussing Patrick Roy’s hiring as the Islanders' coach.

Islanders head coach Patrick Roy llooks on against the Golden...

Islanders head coach Patrick Roy llooks on against the Golden Knights at UBS Arena on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

One of the topics Lefrancois broached was Roy’s evolution since coaching the Avalanche from 2013-16 but resigning just before the 2016-17 season after a dispute with management on the best direction for that franchise.

“I don’t think we should expect him to be what he was in Colorado,” Lefrancois said. “He’s the same guy, but he said he has evolved and, from what we’ve heard, he has evolved.

“From what we’re told by those who work with him, they say he’s changed the way he approaches things. He consults a lot of people. Whether it’s [Islanders special assignment coach] Jacques Lemaire or John Cooper, Barry Trotz, these are all names that he was said to have consulted at some point during his tenure in the Quebec junior league. Whether or not he has an ego, he still goes out and consults with other great coaches, and this tells you he thinks he can learn from those big names.”

Don’t reinforce it

Roy identified quickly as Islanders coach that his new team has been having season-long issues with turnovers. The former goalie relayed an anecdote from early in his Hall of Fame playing career regarding why he doesn’t harp on the negative.

“My first year in Montreal, I decided to go into the sauna,” Roy said. “Then I see Larry Robinson showing [up] in the sauna and I get my head down. He goes to me, ‘Kid, no more bad goals.’ The next night we’re playing Buffalo and Gilbert Perreault comes down the wing and he’s at the blue line. He took a slap shot, it went through my legs. And I’m like, ‘That would be it for no bad goals.’

“The reality is, the more we’re going to talk about turnovers, the more the guys are going to be nervous, the more they’re going to squeeze the stick.”


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