The Edmonton Oilers currently hold the tenth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. There are several players in this year’s draft that could be selected somewhere between fifth and tenth without causing too much commotion or raised eyebrows. Among those players is Noah Dobson.
A member of the Memorial Cup winning Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Noah Dobson has a final NHL Central Scouting of fifth among North American skaters. His fifth-place ranking is an improvement over this midterm ranking of eighth.
Dobson is an 18-year-old defenseman who shoots right. Dobson might not be the quick fix to the Oilers defensive woes, but he has the potential to be a capable NHL who produces points. The more important question for many Oilers fans is can the Oilers afford to wait for a player like Dobson to finish developing or do they need a short-term solution.
Dobson is s a smooth skater with a good shot and excellent positioning. He is a consistent defenseman who shows a bit of creative flair and solid hockey sense. His play for the Titan during the Memorial Cup in Regina was excellent.
Dobson’s shot, skating, and hockey sense come together to make him one of the most desirable young defensemen in the 2018 draft. With 69 points in 67 regular season games played with the Titan, Dobson was second in the QMJHL behind teammate Olivier Galipeau. Dobson’s statistical performance suffered a bit in the playoffs where he only managed 13 points in 20 games,
Another noteworthy piece of Dobson’s 2017-2018 season was that he played 67 out of a possible 68 games. Being healthy in his draft year certainly helped Dobson make an impact. However, it was the fact that he played in all situations for the Titan that make Dobson a valuable commodity. In only his second year in major junior, Dobson appears to have found his stride.
Why should the Oilers consider Dobson? Other than that whole right shot defenseman thing, Dobson has a steadiness to his play that the Oilers lack. There’s an almost tactical quality to his positioning, coupled with an ability to jump in and join the rush that makes Dobson look like he has the potential to fill some of the holes in the Oilers defensive core and prospect pool.
Also, let’s be honest, the defensive prospect pool is not that deep. Outside prospects like Bear and maybe Jones, the Oilers don’t seem to have to posses a lot of desirable pieces. Dobson is a potential prospect with value to more than the Oilers. Dobson could also add depth, and even at just 18, push some of the prospects currently in the Oilers system.
A strong performance at the Memorial Cup may mean Dobson is not available to be selected with the tenth overall pick, but if he is the Oilers should strongly consider selecting him. After all, recent trades and free agent signings haven’t produced the way the Oilers intended. It might be the time to try developing a defensive star while honestly evaluating what the Oiler actually have.