As if you needed any more confirmation, Barry Trotz said it outright Tuesday: This year is Noah Dobson’s time to step into the spotlight.
A day after Trotz said the 20-year-old would be skating with 38-year-old Andy Greene in the third defensive pairing, the Islanders coach essentially said that last season was a testing ground for Dobson. "He’s ready to take a real big piece of ice time this year," Trotz said.
Dobson, who averaged 13:17 minutes last season, needed to get stronger, Trotz said. His summers spent competing with junior ice hockey teams meant he needed time to acclimate to the pro environment.
"He’s a high-end, high IQ type of young player," Trotz said. "So the plan with him was to try to get him in about 35-40 games last year, get him on a regimen and the plan has worked, plain and simple. He’s been around pros for a year…We knew we had to get him ready for this year. It wasn’t about last year, it was about this year."
Defenseman Adam Pelech said he’s noticed the improvement.
"I think he’s progressed a ton," Pelech said. "I think he always had those tools. He’s a great skater. He’s got great hands. I think part of it is just becoming a pro and maturing and developing certain parts of his game, whether it be defensively or whatever it is…We all have the utmost faith in him and we’re really excited to support him as he goes."
Notes & quotes: Pelech said new goaltender Ilya Sorokin hasn’t shown any signs of struggling with the language barrier after seven years in the KHL. "He has no problem communicating in English," he said. "He’s been great these past few days from what I’ve seen from him. We’re lucky to have him here and I don’t think communication will be any issue." Sorokin worked out with the first group Tuesday on Day 2 of training camp, along with Cory Schneider.
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