Summerside defenceman looking to put best foot forward during training camp with New York Islanders
Two-time Memorial Cup champion Noah Dobson is ready for the next challenge.
“I want to play at the next level, in the NHL, this year, that's definitely the goal of mine,” he said after a recent skate in Pownal with guys preparing for pro, major junior and university camps. “I set myself up good with the season of junior (I had) and I’m really happy with the work I’ve put in this summer.”
But the well-spoken and thoughtful Summerside native, who has been basically a point-per-game defenceman the past two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, paused when asked if he has anything left to prove in junior.
“If you look at what I’ve accomplished with two Memorial Cups, it’s pretty hard to win three,” he said. “In my mind, I feel like I’m ready. I’ve done what I could in junior the last two or three years, so I think I’m ready to turn pro.”
There are only two options left for the 19-year-old Dobson: make the NHL’s New York Islanders or come back to major junior. Junior players are not allowed to go to the AHL until their overage season, other than exceptional players who start junior early.
Dobson helped the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies win the Memorial Cup on May 26 with a 4-2 win over the host Halifax Mooseheads. He played for Canada at the world junior championship in British Columbia over the Christmas holidays. He is eligible to return to the squad this year but didn't attend the summer camp.
While he had no big injuries, Dobson said, he was a bit beat up after two long playoff runs.
“It takes a toll on your body, so I just took some R&R,” he said. “It’s nice being on the Island with my friends and family. Obviously now (I’m) right back in the swing of things, heading to camp pretty soon.”
Dobson is attending an NHL Players’ Association rookie showcase and orientation event in Washington from today to Wednesday. He will then head to New York to work out and do some skating before training camp begins.
Dobson said he is more confident this year with a couple camps under his belt with the Islanders and a signed contract.
“You have to play your game and you have to earn a spot,” he said. “They’re going to make the final decision, so you just have to do what you can to make it hard on them to send you back to junior.”
Need to know
Who – A 19-year-old hockey player from Summerside.
Size/position – Six-foot-four, 185-pound right-shot defenceman.
Junior career – Dobson was drafted sixth overall by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan during the 2016 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.
NHL – The New York Islanders selected him in the first round (12th overall) at the 2018 NHL draft.
Regular season statistics
Season GP G A Pts.
2016-17 63 7 19 26
2017-18 67 17 52 69
2018-19 56 15 37 52