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Dobson stepping up with absence of Pelech

Noah Dobson scored the first goal of his NHL career on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.  It was not a pretty goal by any means, but it may be the spark the young defenseman needed.  Dobson will probably be telling his grandkids one day that it was a ripper from the blue line, but take a look for yourself and you’ll see that it was as ugly as it gets.

Dobson’s goal was just another step in what has been a great start to his NHL career.  It’s hard to believe but #8 in the blue and orange just turned 20 years old.  He’s still a year away from being able to have his first legal beer (in the United States).  Even though he’s so young, he’s had to be relied upon on a pair with Johnny Boychuk due to the unfortunate injury of Adam Pelech.

Pelech was playing a game of two-touch (a popular warm-up soccer game done pregame) when he tore his Achilles Tendon.  He’s out for the rest of the season and barring any other major injuries is by far the biggest loss the Islanders will endure this season.

Pelech does not get enough credit for being one of the best defensemen in the NHL.  He and Ryan Pulock shut down both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in last year’s sweep of the Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  He eats minutes every night and is the stalwart of a very talented Islanders’ back end.

Nick Leddy has stepped up admirably and is playing his best hockey alongside Pulock, although the two have had to adjust to each others offensive style.  Unlike Leddy, Pelech has always been more of a defensive-minded player and let Pulock do his thing in the offensive zone.

With the loss of Pelech came the emergence of Dobson.  After being scratched for games at a time, Dobson is being relied upon in a much heavier role.  Previously averaging around 12 minutes a night, Dobson played 20 minutes against the Rangers on Monday and 18 in the blowout win against Detroit.

If the Islanders are to make a run in the playoffs, Dobson will need to contribute those kind of minutes to make up for the loss of Pelech.  It’s a tall task, but the young stud is up for the challenge.  You can see the potential oozing through each time he touches the puck.  Hopefully Islanders fans will see more of that in the coming months.


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