Noah Dobson #8 of the Islanders checks Vincent Trocheck #16 of...

Noah Dobson #8 of the Islanders checks Vincent Trocheck #16 of the Rangers in the final minute of play of the third period at UBS Arena on April 09, 2024 in Elmont. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

Noah Dobson was drafted to be invaluable for the Islanders when he was selected 12th overall in 2018, though the same could be said about seldom-used sharpshooting right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, picked one spot earlier. But that’s another discussion.

Right now, the concern is the Islanders possibly having to continue their playoff push without their top-pair defenseman, power-play quarterback and assists leader. He may or may not be available for Saturday afternoon’s rematch with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Dobson exited with an upper-body injury early in the first period of Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime win over the Canadiens at UBS Arena, the Islanders’ sixth straight victory. The team did not practice Friday, so whether Dobson will be available won’t be known until coach Patrick Roy reveals his lineup. And if he’s not — which, to be clear, would be very bad for the Islanders — there might be no update on how much time Dobson might miss.

The Islanders already have lost defenseman Scott Mayfield for the rest of the season after ankle surgery, though Mike Reilly with either Robert Bortuzzo or Sebastian Aho have formed a functional third pair.

And what if the Rangers’ designated rookie torpedo, the 6-8, 241-pound Matt Rempe, he of the 69 penalty minutes in 15 NHL games, tries to exact revenge against Adam Pelech? The Rangers — specifically an irate coach Peter Laviolette — characterized Pelech’s mid-ice collision with Mika Zibanejad as “vicious” and “intentional” in the Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.

Losing Dobson, a righthanded shot like Mayfield, would leave Ryan Pulock and Bortuzzo as the only healthy righties. Aho already plays on his off-side in the recently rare times he does dress, as he did Thursday.

Grant Hutton and Paul LaDue are veteran righthanded defensemen with some NHL experience who have spent the season with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

Alexander Romanov and Dobson have been effectively reunited, so if Dobson isn’t available, perhaps Pulock again will work with Romanov instead of Pelech. Reilly and Bortuzzo could remain together with Aho skating with Pelech.

It’s all speculation because Dobson’s status is unclear.

What is clear is the 24-year-old’s utmost importance to the Islanders. He has developed into a defenseman who could garner some fourth- or fifth-place votes for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top blueliner.

He has 10 goals and a career-high 60 assists in 79 games in his fifth NHL season.

“It kind of affected our power play, didn’t it?” Roy said after the Islanders went 0-for-4 with two man-advantage shots against the Canadiens.

Dobson still must improve his defensive work, but he has made steady progress into a star defenseman since president and general manager Lou Lamoriello and then-coach Barry Trotz handled his playing time with kid gloves his first couple of seasons.

“Every player has a different path,” Dobson said on April 6. “When I first came out, I was young. I was still a teenager. The plan they had for me was definitely beneficial.”

He’s now invaluable.

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