Photo Credit: NHL.com


Few players have seen their stock rise higher in this draft than Acadie Bathurst Titan defenceman Noah Dobson. The lanky 6-foot-3 blueliner capped off a commendable regular season performance where he finished above a point per game in the QMJHL with a Memorial Cup title that flashed his two-way acumen.

Dobson’s unique package of size, speed and skill from the backend is good enough for him to check in as the 12th ranked prospect at CanucksArmy, although his position and handedness as a right-shot defenceman could mean he hears his name called much earlier than that slot.


  • Age/Birthdate: 17.69/January 7, 2000
  • Birthplace: Summerside PE Canada
  • Frame: 6-foot-3/ 179 lbs
  • Position: D
  • Handedness: R
  • Draft Year Team: Acadie-Bathurst Titan(QMJHL)
  • Accomplishments/Awards:
  • 2011-2012
    • Atlantic Canada Peewee AAA Championship Top Defenceman
    • Hockey PEI Peewee AAA Silver Medal
  • 2012-2013
    • Atlantic Canada Peewee AAA Championship Top Defenceman
    • Hockey PEI Peewee AAA Champions
  • 2017-2018
    • CHL Memorial Cup All-Star Team
    • CHL Memorial Cup Champion
    • Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
    • QMJHL Champion
    • QMJHL First All-Star Team



2017/18 Season

GP G A P SEAL INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 eP160 Sh/GP Sh% GF% GF% Rel GD60 Rel XLS% XPR xVAL
67 17 52 69 0.92 26.1 9.8 0.79 4.12 6% 61.9% 3.9% 0.44 52 23.5 5.1


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Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)

Team Relative


Cohort Based

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Our Take

Among the second tier of defencemen — a group that includes Evan Bouchard, Quinn Hughes, Adam Boqvist and Ty Smith — it’s Dobson that stands out with his play away from the puck.

In his own zone, he does a great job of using his mobility and great reach to take time and space away from the opposition. He’s able to couple those physical traits with excellent anticipation and an active stick that enables him to jump into passing lanes to force turnovers. Down low, Dobson relies on his deft edgework to maintain a tight gap; choosing to engage the man when he sees an opportunity to use his long stick to poke the puck away. He hasn’t grown into his 6’3″ frame yet, but he’s still able to leverage it at the junior level to tangle up and negate the puck carrier in board battles and box out forwards near the goal mouth.

Many of those same skills and physical traits carry over when it comes to defending the rush. Here, Dobson reads the play well; anticipating the opposition breakout before making a decision on whether he can cut off the lane for an interception to lead a counterattack. Given the danger of overcommitting, he very rarely takes that risk, instead settling to close the gap on the expected outlet man. He combines that tight gap with his aforementioned reach to keep the forward in front of him to deny the space required to freely enter the offensive zone.

With the puck, Dobson is as good as they come with regards to transitioning play up the ice. He’s a multi-dimensional threat in transition; owning a good first-pass that’s capable of springing his teammates on the counterattack to go along with sublime skating ability that allows him to carry the puck through the neutral zone. When Dobson isn’t the one leading the breakout, he likes to activate in transition and join the rush as the second or third option. At the same time, he’s mindful of the positioning of players around him — only jumping up after assessing the risk to reward ratio. That same approach of calculating risk applies in the defensive zone, where Dobson isn’t afraid to chip the puck out for an uncontrolled exit if a safe option doesn’t materialize. It’s an assertion that’s supported by the microdata tracked by The Athletic’s Mitch Brown.

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Dobson was more selective in his controlled exit attempts, resulting in a higher ratio of uncontrolled exits and a higher success rate on his possession attempts. Watching him play, it became abundantly clear that Dobson became less reliant on uncontrolled exits as the season went on. He showed more confidence in tight spaces during the second half of the year — often managing to navigate through packed defensive zone traffic with clean possession of the puck.

Moving onto the offensive side of things introduces the limitations that some have expressed with Dobson’s ceiling. The PEI native registered 69 points in 67 games, though some believe that contextual factors inflated that production. For starters, the QMJHL is weaker in competition and higher scoring in nature relative to the other CHL leagues. Secondly, he played for the Memorial Cup winning Acadie Bathurst Titan — meaning Dobson had the luxury of playing with teammates that could convert on the chances he created.

While it’s difficult to account for the quality of teammates aspect, league factors can be adjusted for using the SEAL tool.

Dobson ranks eighth among draft-eligible defencemen for points per game when sorting by SEAL.

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His SEAL placement aligns well with my assessment of his offensive skills — he may not boast the same dynamic traits or creativity as some of his peers, though he possesses a respectable toolkit nonetheless.

In the offensive zone, Dobson’s contributions largely depend on the utilization of his mobility to both create and take advantage of space. When the puck is swung high to the point, Dobson often shifts laterally across the ice without the puck to create new space and lanes. Alternatively, if he receives the puck and spots an open seam, he won’t hesitate to fly down the right wing boards to capitalize on the vacant real estate. Dobson also loves to crank shots from the blueline, finishing fourth among all QMJHL skaters for shots per game. He was regularly able to beat goaltenders cleanly, especially on one-timers from the left slot on the power-play, but his shot will have to improve in terms of both power and accuracy to hold that same effectiveness at the NHL level. When he’s not shooting the puck, Dobson’s an above-average playmaker with vision capable of identifying coverage lapses in the offensive zone.

All told, Dobson is a well-rounded defenceman who offers a highly coveted and rare combination of size, skill and speed. That impressive physical package pairs with a pro-ready processing ability to make him one of the safest bets for NHL success outside of the top-5. Don’t mistake his label as a “safer” pick as a sign that he has a lower ceiling though — Dobson is just as likely to develop into a top pairing defenceman as Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist and Ty Smith. It’s those reasons that lead me to believe that Dobson should be ranked even higher than the 12th spot. Given teams’ penchant for right-handed defencemen that can log heavy minutes and contribute in all situations, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see another team agree with that assessment and take Dobson before he’s even made available to the Canucks at number seven.

Further Reading

Consolidated Average Future Considerations HockeyProspect.com ISS Hockey McKeen’s Hockey The Athletic TSN Bob McKenzie TSN Craig Button The Hockey News Sportsnet ESPN Dobber Prospects
9 10.4 10 9 9 10 $$ 8 8 9 7 7 7

Steve Kournianos from The Draft Analyst:

Rangy, mobile defender with size and strong puck skills who sticks to his opponents like velcro. Dobson is a rare specimen for a teenage defender in that he is a big-bodied puck mover with speed who plays with poise in all three zones. He is one of the QMJHL’s top scoring blueliners thanks to his ability to run a power play, dictate the tempo of a game regardless of the situation and seize opportunities that nobody else was able to identify. Dobson is a strong, agile skater with a deceptively quick first step and the ability to make sharp directional changes in open ice. Getting the puck behind pesky opponents in the neutral zone can be done with either his wheels or with hard, crisp passes, but Dobson isn’t the kind of defenseman who lets his forwards take it from there — he loves to jump into openings and create or finish from areas close to the hashmarks.

Dobson is a very strong one-on-one defender who maintains a very tight gap and is quick enough to stick with his man even after he circles the net with speed. Trying to take him wide is a decision most puck-carrying forwards end up regretting, as they either end up pasted onto the corner boards or gazing at the back of Dobson’s jersey as he powers up ice.

CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings

#13 Joseph Veleno
#14 Joel Farabee #15 AKIL THOMAS #16 RYAN MERKLEY
#17 BARRETT HAYTON #18 Rasmus Kupari #19 RYAN MCLEOD
#41 Nicolas Beaudin #42 Jack McBain #43 Ty Dellandrea
#44 Jesse Ylonen #45 Mattias Samuelsson #46 Jonny Tychonick
#47 Niklas Nordgren #48 Aidan Dudas #49 GRIGORI DENISENKO
#59 Albin Eriksson # 60 Adam Samuelsson #61 Cameron Hillis
#80 LIAM FOUDY #81 LINUS KARLSSON #82 Jachym Kondelik


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  • Jimjamg

    I would like to see some analysis of the biggest movers in the draft ranking during their draft year over the last ten years to see if this is an indicator of future success. In other words, if you made big moves up the Board are you more likely to become a successful NHLer than players around your ranking who were more stable.

    • Cageyvet

      I second that motion, and let’s see the reverse as well, did the biggest droppers become steals due to an overreaction to a perceived negative. I think it would be good to differentiate between those who rose or fell rather steadily or early on compared to their start of them year rankings and those who had a late rise or fall which may have been a false reaction to the tournament play, or just a late-season hot or cold streak.

      I think this is a great comment on expanding stats because this one is more like morning odds at the horse races versus the actual odds at post-time. The shift in the horse’s odds, or the player’s ranking, is determined by an accumulation of knowledge from those willing to put money (or their draft pick currency) into play and analyzes something that is both nebulous and valuable at the same time. Run the numbers for fun and see if anything jumps out. In betting getting higher betting odds than the real odds is called an overlay, and it’s what all gamblers look for, as while individual bets don’t always hit, if you bet nothing but overlays you’d always end up a winner. This is the same thing CA and others mean in getting “value” picks, that means players who have a better chance of success or a higher ceiling than their draft ranking would indicate. Nothing generates a sure-fire system for success, but any data that came out could be useful. There’s the identified stat about the success rate of players who played x number of games in the SHL, perhaps this would uncover a stat that shows if you draft the guy who dropped 10 spots or more you get better success, hit a stud player 1 in 4 times, etc.

      CA is devoted to stats, and drafting is so uncertain that a broadening of the statistical lens couldn’t hurt.

  • Smyl and Snepsts

    This is the guy I want. Can play both ends of the ice. Sounds a lot like Edler or better. No smurf defensemen who the big forwards can swat out of the way please.

  • ADS

    With all the discussion of Dobson being the ideal pick for the Canucks, it’s interesting to see CA having him ranked at #12. I’m now very intrigued to see the write up about Smith and why CA have him ranked above Dobson while almost every other ranking has him behind Dobson.

    • Harman Dayal

      For what it’s worth, I have him at 8 above Smith and Bouchard. Smith, Dobson and Bouchard are where a lot of us disagreed on our rankings. I was late for submissions so mine wasn’t taken into account for the final list.

      Fortunately, Jackson is covering Smith’s profile and I know he’s one of the contributors that was really high on him. That way, you’ll get a good insight from him as to why some of us think of him so highly

    • North Van Halen

      Why do I feel like the low ranking is because Dobson seems like a logical Benning pick and a few of the guys here want be able to say they knew better if he doesn’t shine right away.
      Could be wrong, but it sure feels like it….

      • Riley Miner

        Oh, come on. CanucksArmy had Glass #4 and Pettersson #5 last year, both the most likely Benning picks by rumour last year. The idea they’d risk the legitimacy of their top 100 rankings just to spite Benning is ridiculous.

        • North Van Halen

          I would counter that there are 4 writers here who’s Benning bias has already made their credibility sketchy to me (1 I won’t read anymore). Combine that with every publication, Dayal & Biech all having him within the top 10 yet he’s 12th overall here means those same 4 somehow have him much higher.
          I could be wrong, oddly I can admit I am often, I’m just saying…

  • wojohowitz

    I don`t see Dobson going later than 7th and it looks like Ty Smith has moved ahead of him. When they draft one of the top two or three D-men they are hoping for a Norris Trophy candidate and Dobson has that kind of upside.

    • TD

      NHL Central Scouting has Bouchard at 4 and Dobson at 5 for North American Skaters. The only European skater that would definitely be higher is Dahlin. Boqvist may be higher as well. They definitely have them both going to 10, probably more like right around 7 where the Canucks pick.

  • truthseeker

    Great info. I’m growing more and more on him as a pick if he’s available. Sounds like he has all the tools.

    Personally I also want the canucks to target a kid who could probably make the jump into the NHL this season or next at the latest. Which is why I’d rather go with the two with some size in Bouchard or Dobson. I don’t mind the patience with Juolevi , but I don’t want to wait another 2 years for one of these other smaller D guys to “develop”.

    • argoleas

      This may scare some (or most) people, but their RD may be set for a while w/ Tanev, Stecher, and Guddy. I do not think they will need to pick someone that can make the NHL the fastest, instead focusing on highest ceiling, and then step in the take Guddy’s place in roster. Still think they will likely go for Bouchard or Dobson should they be available, and if they are rdy to go as soon as 2019-2020, then Benning can clean up on Guddy faster.

      And yes, I do actually expect Tanev to be extended.

      • truthseeker

        But that’s the thing. All of the D men in the “second tier” have question marks and nobody can make a convincing argument that any one of them have a higher ceiling than the others. In other words they’re all basically the same in terms of a choice. Sure “if this guy does this he could be better than that guy”…etc…but it’s all so much speculation that it’s virtually irrelevant. So if that’s the case, then whats the point of taking the kid that’s farther away from the NHL? Might as well just draft the guy you think is closest to stepping in now, because all the other potentialities off set each other.

        As far as a roster spot, if a kid is good enough they’ll find room.

        I hope they do extend Tanev. The “trade Tanev” club seem to strangely undervalue him. I don’t think it’s true but if the GM’s in the league don’t think his value is that high and are low balling Benning then he most certainly should re sign him. He’ll still be a fantastic D man for at least another 5 to 6 years. Just the right kind of veteran presence for the team when (hopefully) it’s competitive again.

        • argoleas

          How Canucks ultimately value each D from that 2nd tier is something that remains to be seen. Sure, if they feel that each is basically an equal mix of upside and issues, then I can see them going with the one that is closest to the NHL. But if they do see one to have more upside than the rest, then I do see them potentially valuing that more than NHL-readiness. That was one of the main reasons they picked Pettersson over Glass, who was projected to be more NHL-ready,. It was great and unexpected fortune that Pettersson may in fact make the NHL at the same time as Glass!!

          Agree about Tanev. I believe Benning sees him and Elder as providing that useful veteran pair that will help the younger Dmen like Stecher, Pouliot, Juolevi, the 7OA, and others transition to the NHL. As long as Tanev fashions more Kevlar shielding, he should be quite durable.

          • truthseeker

            Yes that’s totally true. And they know way more about this than I do that’s for sure. So if the canucks scouts believe that someone like Hughes will end up being way better than either Dobson or Bouchard, I’d have to trust in their choice and support it. Dobson or Bouchard are simply my outside perspective choices but really I don’t care who they take at 7 aside from thinking that drafting a winger would be a waste because of the inherent lesser value of the position. In terms of the D though…whomever they think is the best is fine with me.

            As for Tanev, while it’s frustrating he can’t put together a full season I have to say his injuries don’t really bother me all that much. Almost all of them seem to be of the freak accident variety and not really any chronic issue type stuff. You’d think one of these years he’d manage to not get hit by a puck in exactly the wrong place….lol.

        • TD

          I would rather wait for a better player over a career than have an 18 year old playing now. The Canucks are still several years away from being competitive, wouldn’t it make sense to draft the player that will be the best when they are competitive? I’m a fan of both these players and really like the fact that they both are good in their own end as well as providing offence. NHL.com has some good article on the D prospects right now including one comparing Bouchard and Dobson. Their scouts and sources are not at all worried about Bouchard’s skating and stated he is good defensively and has great hockey sense and passing.

          • truthseeker

            right…I would too…but that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about a situation when the group of players are all basically the same and even their potential projects as basically the same. As is the case with all the D available in this draft around that spot.

      • LTFan

        I expect EG to be traded sometime before training camp next season. I would definitely expect that the Canucks will take either Dobson or Bouchard if they are still available at the #7 pick.

  • I wonder how he compares to Brisebois. Brisebois played for the Titans when they were crap only a few years ago. Tall, lanky, two-way play, he was projected to be a second pairing guy but looking like a bottom pairing guy based on his play in the AHL. Would Dobson, as a product of the Q, also end up falling below expectations?

    That being said, I really want this guy for his lack of weaknesses and top pairing potential.

    • tyhee

      Since being drafted Brisebois didn’t do much in his D + 1 season but his numbers got much better in his final season of junior (at least partly due to being on a better team) and he had an acceptable, though not outstanding, first professional year in Utica.

      He may or not ever become an NHL regular and as you say he looks to be a bottom pair guy if he does, but it seems to me that so far he’s just about what one should expect of a prospect drafted in the 3rd round who had no outstanding physical strengths or weaknesses in his game. There may be better examples of defencemen from the Q who haven’t met expectations.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Draft Dobson or Bouchard and sign Stastny. Then my team looks like this next year….


    Goldobin and Motte in the press box, you can go ahead and cut Gagner, he brings nothing to the table.

    Pouliot-Gudbranson (who gets traded at the deadline and whomever they draft steps in)

    Biega and Sautner in the press box, Hutton traded for whatever they can get.

    Markstromm – Demko

    Nilsson traded for a draft pick, maybe a 4th rounder?

    This team might not make the playoffs this year, but they’d be great to watch, and with another piece or two, and more experience, look out 2019-2020…

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      Why would Paul Stastny want to sign with a team with almost no realistic shot at the playoffs? I also think it’s more likely that Dahlen and Motte start in Utica and that Goldy has the inside shot at that winger slot. Plus, where’s Gaunce?

      • Ser Jaime Lannister

        Because Canucks can overpay Stastny, and with the west slipping and a lineup like BCB suggested looks like a WC team.

        Dahlen didnt look outta place in Utica and could make the big club we dont know yet. For a team that cant score goals…i would hope Dahlen is on the team ahead of Gaunce…

        • tyhee

          I can understand wanting an old pro to go with the youth the Canucks would like to incorporate into their lineup over the next couple of years, and you’re right that they have cap space to overpay right now.

          Otoh, how long do you suppose Stastny will want for term? I think he’ll be looking for at least four years and probably would like more.

          How long do we want to overpay him?

          He’s 32, will be 33 before the mid-point of the coming season, is coming off his best offensive year in the last five seasons.

          Two seasons ago the Canucks made a big play for a 28 year old forward coming off a bit of a comeback season, but he signed for 7 years with the Oilers, had one good season and now would be a buyout candidate if it weren’t for his contract being structured mostly as bonuses.

          As the Canucks didn’t get their first choice, they settled for signing a forward about to turn 31 years old coming off his best offensive season in the past four seasons (at the time) to a six year deal. After one season he’d have been a buyout candidate were it not for the way his contract was structured.

          If you can get Stastny for a year without overpaying too badly I can see the logic. If you can get him for two years without overpaying too badly it looks wrong to me but understandable.

          Three years or more would be likely enough to turn out badly it would be silly and four years would be ridiculous.

          Having a $6 million cap hit for Eriksson and close to that amount for Stastny three years from now would be awful.

          Further, Stastny, being older, is at least as likely to show age related decline in the near future as Lucic and Eriksson were two years ago.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Legit skills, pffft. Any puck handling skills he has are easily negated by his defensive liabilities, and his unbelievably soft play on the puck. Signing him to play on a young team like the Canucks was a mistake, hopefully Columbus will take him back and he can get a whole 50 points playing on the first power play unit. Otherwise put him on waivers.

    • Kootenaydude

      I’m liking it Mister Beer can. We lost two veterans (Sedins) last year. Green is a newer coach and having a skilled veteran like Stastny will help him and Pettersson out immensely. You always hear Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets day what an intelligent player he is and how well he communicates with the bench. Overpay him for three years. Then he can retire. We have the cap space. If you look at past drafts. You quickly realize that it really is a roll of the dice sometimes. Having a quality centreman will help the development of our young players immensely. I like the fact that CA ranked Dobson at 12. It’s too easy to just follow mainstream rankings. Looking forward to the top ten.

    • argoleas

      I’m just not sure they would bring in Stastny (or Bozak or Riley Nash or any other Center) to block Pettersson’s move to the middle. Again, here’s where I call for patience, and let Pettersson progress into that Center spot, where in a few years, he will emerge as that premier 1C pivot. I believe Gagner serves the purpose of helping him transition to the middle at a proper pace, and then be rdy to move himself to RW while still taking draws.

      Any why put Goldy in press box?? This is the time to develop players like him, not sit them and watch their value disappear. He showed promise last year, especially in the last 15 games.

      Motte is still eligible for Utica, so he will end up there for now.

      • Bud Poile

        The Canucks better be trading some d-men if they expect Dobson or Bouchard to be drafted and make the team.
        Both can run a PP and are RHD.
        Hughes has the highest upside and the team can wait for him.
        Orr was one inch taller than Hughes and 5 lbs. heavier as an NHL rookie back in the day the league was tough as nails.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I think you might be underrating him a little bit here. Not one single pundit had him as low as you do, for example, and I think if he’s there at 7, Benning is probably going to take him.

    • Ser Jaime Lannister

      Bouchard and Dobson have top pairing potential and are RHD… you take them and run! This is going to be big for the rebuild if we draft one of them.