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Draft a Dream Come True for Wahlstrom, Dobson

The Islanders two first rounders "honored, humbled" to be drafted

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

DALLAS - Friday night was a dream come true for Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson. 

The Islanders two first-round picks - Wahlstrom taken 11th, Dobson 12th - had a hard time describing the feeling of walking onto the stage and becoming NHL prospects, but both affirmed that they had dreamed about it their whole lives. 

"It's a cliché, but it's a dream come true," Dobson said. "It's kind of hard to process it all right now, it all happens so fast, but it's pretty surreal and I'm very honored and humbled to be here, sitting here today and joining the Islanders organization."

Video: Islanders draft F Oliver Wahlstrom No. 11

Wahlstrom was similarly star-struck. He had watched the Draft before, seen the GMs working the phones, but it was an out-of-body experience to be up close and on stage with them. Both players were all smiles when they received a call from the Islanders new coach, Barry Trotz. 

"You see all these guys on TV when you're a kid and see the GMs talking on the phone on NHL Network, so I looked in [Isles President and GM Lou Lamoriello's] eyes and said, 'is this happening right now?' It was really cool and I'm very fortunate to be in this position."

The Islanders felt a similar sentiment. Both prospects were listed as top seven North American skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting, yet both were available when the Isles were on the clock, so they scooped them up. 

Video: Islanders draft D Noah Dobson No. 12

"All we can say is we're glad they were where they were when we picked, so we feel good about it," Lamoriello said. "These were two players we had very high." 

Lamoriello described both players as having hockey sense, skill and lots of potential, though he reminded reporters asking about their NHL readiness that they were still 18 year-olds. 

"They are outstanding prospects," Lamoriello said. "The offensive player is a prolific scorer, he has great hands, very talented and the defenseman from Quebec, Dobson, has so much upside as far as skill and offense."

"I don't think we could be more delighted," Lamoriello added. 

Video: NHL Draft 2018: Lou Lamoriello Post Draft

At 6'1, 208 lbs., Wahlstrom is a self-described big, strong power forward, who scored 40 goals in 54 games with the US National Team Development Program last season. He has a similar frame and stat line to Isles 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows, who he knows from his days at USA Hockey. 

Wahlstrom scored goals everywhere he played last season, leading all Americans in goals (7) at this year's U18 WJC. His favorite players are Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, two of the most prolific scorers in the NHL. 

"Lots of skill and creativity, but my biggest asset is my shot and I can get it off from anywhere," Wahlstrom said. "Scoring goals is my specialty and I've been doing that since I was a little kid, so I'm excited." 

He does not lack confidence either and wants to challenge for a spot on the Islanders next season. If not, he'll happily go to Boston College, where he's committed to playing college hockey and rounding out his game. 

 Video: NHL Draft 2018: Oliver Wahlstrom

"I just need to be better playing without the puck," Wahlstrom said. "I have to hone in on that and be consistent more with that area. My offense is pretty good, but I have to hone down on that step, but I have the confidence I can step right in."

As for Dobson, the offensive defenseman describes himself as a two-way puck mover who models his game after St. Louis blueliner Alex Pietrangelo. 

"I think I'm a very reliable defenseman, able to play against other teams' top players, but at the same time [I can] get up in the rush and create offense and produce offensively," Dobson said. 

Dobson, who had 69 points (17G, 52A), said he thinks his style translates to today's NHL, where defensemen are expected to be fast and get the puck up the ice. At 6'3, 177 lbs., he said getting bigger and stronger is his goal for the summer. 

Video: NHL Draft 2018: Noah Dobson

"The goal this summer is to be able to get my body to a level and add some strength where I can go into an NHL camp with the Islanders in September and compete against men and not be out of place and make a decision tough on management to send me back to junior," Dobson said.

The draft comes at the end of a successful spring for Dobson, who captured a QMJHL title with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and a Memorial Cup, the top prize in Canadian junior hockey. Dobson had seven points (2G, 5A) in four Memorial Cup games and felt that two months against and beating top-level competition helped him in the lead-up to the draft. 

Tweet from @NYIslanders: All smiles. �� @WahlstromOliver @_ND53 #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/oBJRsUFQMk

"The Memorial Cup is a big stage for junior hockey and I was able to showcase myself a little longer and play against the best players around the CHL, so I think it definitely helped a bit." 

Dobson said he'll be heading to New York for the first time when he arrives for rookie camp next week and is excited for the opportunity to begin his NHL career. Wahlstrom echoed the same sentiment. 

"Just to be at the NHL Draft and a chance to be selected is pretty surreal itself," Dobson said "I was happy to join any NHL organization here today, so to join the Islanders I'm very excited and happy to join this team."

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