As is the case with the likes of blueliners Evan Bouchard and Quinn Hughes and right winger Oliver Wahlstrom, the Edmonton Oilers are going to have to see the cards fall their way to get the chance to select defenceman Noah Dobson of the Acadie-Bathurst Titans when they make the 10th selection at the NHL Entry Draft in Dallas.
Dobson, a six-foot-three, 180-pound right shot D-man who put up 17-52-69 in 67 games with the Titans during the regular season, did nothing but increase his stock in NHL scouting circles with his performance in the QMJHL playoffs and at the Memorial Cup. Scouting staffs around the league already thought well of the big kid from Summerside, PEI, then he upped his game in the post-season.
Dobson, Bouchard and Hughes make up a cluster of D-men considered to be the best available after consensus No. 1 pick Rasmus Dahlin. All three could be gone by the time the Oilers take the podium unless forwards like Joel Farabee or Barret Hayton, ranked below top forwards Andrei Svechnikov, Brady Tkachuk, Filip Zadina and Wahlstrom on most lists, vault into the top 10.
Here’s how Dobson stacks up in the rankings:
International Scouting Services (ISS): 8th
Craig Button of TSN: 8th
Central Scouting: 5th among NA skaters
McKeen’s Hockey: 10th
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet: 7th
Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: 9th
Over at NHL.com in their latest mock draft, all three of their writers have Dobson going 5th overall to Arizona. At MyNHL.com, they’ve got him going 11th overall to the New York Islanders. There is no chance Dobson gets by the Oilers and it’s unlikely, but not impossible, that he’s there when Edmonton picks. Dobson’s playoff performance is fresh in the minds of many and that doesn’t help Edmonton’s chances.
Here’s what people are saying about Dobson:
- “Very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the point on the power play. He is a point-producer with size who defends well and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone.” – Central Scouting.
- “The potential in the big puck-mover became even more apparent at the Memorial Cup, where Dobson soared. The sky is the limit with this kid.” – Kennedy, THN
- “Pound for pound, there isn’t a better one-on-one defender in this draft than Dobson, who uses his quick feet and NHL-caliber smarts to smother opposing puck carriers. On offence, he’s more of a facilitator than an orchestrator, but he oozes potential in every area of the game and should be groomed to anchor a top pairing.” – Steve Kournianos, Sporting News
At the NHL combine in Buffalo last week, Dobson was asked about the challenges of getting stronger in preparation for the NHL. At six-foot-three, Dobson has room to gain weight and strength. “It’s definitely an area of development for myself,” he said. “I think there’s no set number. I think just getting my body to a level where I’m able to compete against the older guys and the men and be able to battle in the corner. It’s obviously a big summer and I’m planning on putting some weight on and adding some strength, so come an NHL camp in September I’ll be ready.”
The Oilers would be thrilled to have the opportunity to add either Dobson or Bouchard to their blueline group because both fill a need (likewise Wahlstrom at right wing up front), but getting any one of them is a best-case scenario. Coming off the kind of post-season performance Dobson had, getting him is probably pie-in-the-sky stuff. We’ll see.
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