With the ninth pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers select Noah Dobson of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The New York Rangers are in a bit of a pickle, but not because of bad drafting. They’ve signed some bad contracts, and are in need of free agent help. That’s not going to be helped anytime soon. In the meantime, stocking up with good young prospects can only help the team in an effort to either improve immediately or, in a package, move some bad contracts to another team.
New York has few gaping holes in its prospect pool, and so takes the best player available. Dobson is a big two-way defenseman. Standing at 6’3” and 180 pounds, the lanky blue liner has room to grow into his frame. Future Considerations describes Dobson as “Extremely mobile” and “positionally sound.” Dobson has good gap control and is a smooth skater.
The biggest weakness in Dobson’s game is his aggressiveness in attack. Instead of getting forward and getting involved in the offense, Dobson’s tendency is to hang back and either fire long shots from the point or advance the puck along the boards. Elite Prospects does note that Dobson has good hands and a good shot; he has the tools to succeed in the offensive zone.
In addition, Dobson’s skills in transition are strong. Because of his strong skating, gap control, and long reach Dobson’s defense is very strong. After his team gains control of the puck, Dobson is very effective and turning to the attack, either by skating with the puck or moving it to a teammate.
In short, he has all the skills to be a successful NHL-er. Despite the concerns about his offensive contributions, he clearly has the ability to succeed in the NHL.
How He’d Fit with the Wild
Dobson checks all the boxes. He’s big, he can move, and he has good skills. The only things lacking are the killer offensive moves and his use of his size to his full advantage. As he fills out his 6’3” frame, Dobson should be more comfortable using his physicality to its full potential. At only 180 pounds, there’s plenty of room to grow.
Could the Wild get him?
In all likelihood, probably not. Dobson is projected across the board to be gone in the top 10-12. The Wild don’t pick till 24. Moving up that high could be done, but it’s unlikely the Wild are interested in paying the price to do so. In addition to its first round draft pick, the Wild would have to move something significant to get into the top 10 of the draft.
At the same time, trading away something significant could help with the Wild’s cap situation. The problem then becomes not destroying the team whilst trying to get a good prospect and lightening the strain on the cap.
Put simply: the Wild could move up for Dobson if it wanted to. It’s unlikely that they will do so, however.