Mason Jobst has made a habit of overcoming significant hurdles in his hockey career, from concerns about his 5-8, 174-pound frame to shoulder injuries to not initially being offered a scholarship at Ohio State.
Starting his pro career at 25, making him considerably older than most of the other participants at the Islanders’ rookie camp, is just the latest.
“I feel like it’s an advantage,” the playmaking center said on Tuesday after the third day of practices at East Meadow. “Everyone’s route is different. For me, I took my time. Being a smaller player, going to college and letting me work out for four years has been great for my development. Maybe my window to make it is a little smaller than some guys. But, coming in as a 25-year-old, I feel like my confidence is a lot higher than it would have been as a 22- or 23-year-old.”
Jobst will get his first chance to play in an Islanders’ uniform on Wednesday night in a prospects’ game against the Flyers in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The veterans report for training camp on Thursday.
Jobst signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Islanders on April 2 after being a Hobey Baker finalist as an Ohio State senior. He compiled 17 goals and 19 assists in 36 games in his second season as a Buckeyes’ captain and finished his college career with 69 goals and 95 assists in 150 games.
The native of Speedway, Indiana, played junior hockey for Muskegon of the USHL after his hometown team passed on drafting him and injuries to both shoulders dampened college interest and left him undrafted.
“I battled some injuries and it slowed me down,” Jobst said. “I had a couple of chances to leave [to turn pro] but I just felt like we had such a good team I really was in no rush to get going.”
Jobst said he “looks up” to some smaller NHL standouts such as the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau and the Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkinson and spent the summer in Columbus, Ohio, working out with Atkinson.
Jobst is almost certain to start the season in the AHL with Bridgeport, especially after the Islanders signed ex-Ranger center Derick Brassard to a one-year, $1.2 million deal on Aug. 21.
“I think it’s my job to come in and make the decision as hard as possible,” Jobst said. “I understand where the organization is at for center depth. It’s hard to make it and that’s what makes it the best league in the world. There’s no easy path and I’m up for the challenge.”
Notes & Quotes: First-round pick Simon Holmstrom (soreness), Bode Wilde (ankle) and Bobo Carpenter (shoulder) remained off the ice and all are expected to miss Wednesday night’s game.