The New York Islanders have added another American-born NCAA free agent to their mix for next season: 25-year-old center Mason Jobst, who just completed four years at an Ohio State University, which is one of the state universities in Ohio.
The announced deal is a two-year, two-way entry level contract standard for a previously unsigned rookie at his age. It’s also a dream come true for him:
I’m excited to have signed my first NHL contract with the New York Islanders.Ive been dreaming of this since I was a little boy and want to say thank you to the countless family and friends that have had an amazing impact on my life and helped me reach this point in my career! pic.twitter.com/TsZjR1joi6— Mason Jobst (@M_Jobst) April 2, 2019
No but seriously, this is a longheld dream come true. Just check out his words in this first-person piece at Ohio State.
Like fellow recent signings Bobo Carpenter (Boston University captain) and Grant Hutton (Miami of Ohio), who are playing on ATOs now with the Sound Tigers, Jobst was captain of his college squad, an honor he held the past two years. He led the Buckeyes in scoring during his sophomore and senior years.
As with all undrafted free agents, the natural question is: Why was Jobst not drafted by an NHL team before he headed to college? One reason: 5’8” is not the frame you see among NHL centers. Jobst didn’t start college until age 21. Prior to his time at Ohio State, the Indiana native played his junior hockey with Muskegon of the USHL; though he was not a prolific scorer there, he did “all the little things” and was eventually named captain. (He also had to overcome surgeries on both shoulders.)
Then he impressed with his overall game and hockey IQ to put questions about size aside at the NCAA level.
“It’s what you see every night from him. He plays five-on-five, kills penalties, and plays the power play. He’s not the biggest guy in stature out there, but he just brings it,” said OSU coach Steve Rohlik.
And as Jobst himself said in that piece, in words that are likely exactly what the Lamoriello-Trotz regime wants to hear:
“There are so many skilled players who have all the skill in the world, but they aren’t 200-foot players. It’s hard for them to make it. I realize that you have to be a 200-foot player to make it to the NHL,” said Jobst. “When you look at some of the best players at the pro level, they’re doing those things and that’s why they’re so good.”
All of these signings by no means assure future depth for the Islanders at the NHL level. But it provides organizational depth, with the chance for something more, with the types of character attributes Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz appear to value most.