Following in the footsteps of big names such as Gerard Gallant and Brad Richards, it seems like not much will get in the way of Noah Dobson being the next Prince Edward Island native to reach the NHL level.
The blueliner is not only projected to be a Top 5 selection in this year’s NHL Entry Draft in Dallas, Texas, but he is also ranked as the second best defenceman available.
From Salzburg, Austria, and its Red Bull Hockey Academy to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Noah Dobson’s unconventional path to the QMJHL and now the NHL is truly remarkable. The 6’3’’, 180-pound defender burst onto the Q scene last season, amassing 26 points in 63 games at the tender age of 16.
A star was born.
The Summerside, P.E.I., product showcased tremendous skills and superb instincts, all while providing a solid two-way presence for the Titan in his rookie season. He blossomed under Head Coach Mario Pouliot’s system.
“Mario has been great for my development, he really gave me a lot of opportunities as a 16-year-old”, said Dobson. “I feel the experience I gained last year helped me get off to a strong start this year.”
Entering the 2017-18 season, all eyes were fixated on Dobson in his draft year and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, a small market team with Championship aspirations. Dobson and his squad did not disappoint.
After the highly-touted defenceman picked up 69 points in 67 regular season games, including 17 goals, he went on to add 13 points in 20 post-season games. Championship aspirations turned to reality for Dobson and the Titan as they captured both the President Cup and Memorial Cup. Once again, the young phenom lived up to his hype by delivering an All-Star performance with two goals and five assists in four Memorial Cup games.
But Dobson firmly believes his experience at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is what spearheaded his memorable championship journey.
“I came into training camp with a lot of confidence after winning the gold medal with Team Canada”, Dobson said. “I felt my game continued to grow as the year went on, and by the Memorial Cup, I was playing my best hockey.”
Dobson has dealt with the pressures and adversity of his NHL Draft year while balancing the rigors of his position and being a number one defenceman on a Championship team with tremendous poise, confidence and maturity.
“My motto all year was just one day at a time”, he admitted. “There was so much going on around me, but my focus was staying in the moment and taking it one day at a time and trying to improve each day.”
Shane Turner, an Amateur Scout with the Dallas Stars, has watched Dobson’s growth and development intently and believes he possesses some extremely rare attributes for his age.
“Two things that stand out about Noah’s development are his ability to read and react to situations. He has really matured in his ability to comprehend developing plays that will make him a very solid pro”, explained Turner. “The second thing is his ability to defend with patience while taking away the opponent’s options.”
For Ottawa Senators Chief Amateur Scout, Trent Mann, he believes Dobson’s strongest attribute is his ability to process the game in all three zones.
“Having a solid defenceman that has upside to play in all situations is extremely important”, stressed Mann. “Because of his hockey sense, Noah will be able to step into a role [immediately] and then continue to have his role expand as he gains more experience.”
Dobson has been waiting his entire life to hear his name called on NHL Draft Day.
“Hearing my name called in Dallas will be a dream come true”, he confessed. “I look forward to being able to spend the day with friends and family and take it all in.”
Dobson’s exceptional journey in the game has not only revealed his immense talent and skill, it has also showcased his character and maturity. Noah Dobson is truly, a star on the rise.