They traveled from Prince Edward Island to see the Islanders’ regular-season opener against the Capitals on Friday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. But Noah Dobson’s parents will have to wait to see their son’s NHL debut.
The 19-year-old defenseman, selected 12th overall in 2018, was a healthy scratch in Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Capitals in favor of Johnny Boychuk. Coach Barry Trotz said the decision was partly based on the Islanders’ opponent and partly because Dobson is still feeling the effects of unspecified soreness that cut short his practice on Tuesday.
Dobson had a strong training camp but the Islanders also kept him on the roster because he is not AHL eligible and were not convinced returning him to his junior hockey team — the only other option — would not further his development.
“This is Game 1, he’s going to be playing,” Trotz said. “He’s just coming off a little bit of an injury. We’re not hurrying him. We’ll have a good plan and that plan will be internal. He will get proper reps, proper ice time, proper training. We’re not going to do anything to stifle his development.”
Goalie Semyon Varlamov, in his 11th NHL season, is no stranger to the Coliseum. But Friday marked his first game at the venerable barn playing for the Islanders. He believes he’ll enjoy playing a lot in the building.
“I was just enjoying the first game of the season,” Varlamov said. “It was amazing today. It was very loud.”
Center Brock Nelson led the Islanders with five shots…Forwards Ross Johnston and Tom Kuhnhackl were the other healthy scratches…Trotz tied Hall of Famer Al Arbour for the third-most games coached in the NHL at 1,607…Varlamov and counterpart Ilya Samsonov are the last two goalies to be selected in the first round by the Capitals.