Noah Dobson won’t be sure he’s made the Islanders’ opening-night roster until he walks into NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Friday night for the regular-season opener against the Capitals.
But he took being at Monday’s practice in East Meadow as a positive.
The Islanders placed veteran defenseman Thomas Hickey and forwards Josh Ho-Sang and Tanner Fritz on waivers Monday with the intention of reassigning them to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport if they clear by noon on Tuesday.
That likely clears the way for Dobson, 19, the 12th overall pick in 2018, to jump from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to the NHL.
“The roster is not finally set,” Dobson said. “Being here today, being on the ice today is definitely a good sign. I’ll keep taking it one day at a time and hopefully get the opportunity to be on the final roster.
“I’m definitely confident in my ability,” added the 6-4, 190-pound Dobson, a righthanded shot who had two assists and was a plus-5 in four preseason games. “I feel like I belong at this level and I’m able to play at this level. Just like any other young guy, there’s going to be a learning curve. I think I’m smart enough out there that I’ll be able to pick up things.”
Dobson is not eligible for the AHL, so the Islanders faced either retaining him or sending him back to juniors, where he’s won two straight Memorial Cups.
The flip side is Hickey, 30, in the second season of a four-year, $10 million deal, losing his roster spot. He has 22 goals and 93 assists in 449 games since being claimed off waivers from the Kings in 2013. But rookie Devon Toews’ emergence last season forced him into the extra defenseman’s role after he returned from a concussion in February.
“Thomas’ case is certainly a little more difficult because of his history with the team,” president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said.
“It’s tough. You never want to see it, especially with a good buddy like that,” defenseman Scott Mayfield added. “I feel for Hicks but, at the same time, there was a lot of competition.”
Notes & quotes: Center Casey Cizikas (lower body) is day-to-day. Coach Barry Trotz said it’s too early to tell if he’ll be available Friday . . . Lamoriello said left wing Andrew Ladd (knee) is expected to be ready “sometime in the latter part of November.” . . . Lamoriello said no decision will be made on reassigning defenseman Bode Wilde, a second-round pick in 2018, to Bridgeport or back to juniors until he recovers from a high ankle sprain. He added no decision has been made yet on whether this year’s first-round pick, forward Simon Holmstrom, will play in North America or in Sweden. Oliver Wahlstrom, the 11th overall pick in 2018, will start in Bridgeport.