EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Noah Dobson had never been to New York prior to his arrival for New York Islanders mini camp last month.
Soon, New York will be his home.
A native of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, the 18-year-old defenseman was a first-round pick (No. 12) at the 2018 NHL Draft. Shortly after being selected, he said he received text messages from Islanders forwards Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier. It began to sink in.
"It's pretty surreal to get texts from them, but obviously it says a lot about the organization and how much they respect the young guys and trying to make them feel welcome," Dobson said. "It was pretty cool."
Dobson was expected to be a top-10 pick at the draft, but was still available for the Islanders, who held the 11th and 12th selections. New York took forward Oliver Wahlstrom at No. 11 before choosing Dobson at No. 12.
Dobson (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) had 17 goals and 52 assists in 67 games for Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.
"Certainly, it's a little extra motivation," Dobson said. "You don't need much motivation at this level; it's a dream of mine to play in the NHL. But to have those teams that kind of passed on you, I'm definitely going to use that as motivation to try to prove them wrong.
"But I came to a great organization in New York. I'm very excited to be here with them. It's been pretty surreal. It's a dream come true to get drafted in the NHL. It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid. To join this organization, I'm really excited to get things started."
Should Dobson be returned to the junior level after Islanders training camp in September, he'll continue to model his game after St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, a first-round pick (No. 4, 2008) who has evolved into one of the top players at his position in the NHL.
"I think we play similar styles," Dobson said. "We're two-way, puck moving 'D'. He's reliable defensively, but at the same time he creates offense. That's the kind of game I like to play.
"I haven't really set like a timeline. Obviously as a player, you want to play the best route that's possible for you. But I think my goal right now is to get stronger this summer and come into camp in September and be able to compete against the men and not be out of place and make it a tough decision on management to send me back to junior.
"You want to play in the NHL, but obviously you have to keep the big picture in mind and what's best for your development. There's no better guys than (Islanders general manager) Lou (Lamoriello) and (coach) Barry Trotz who know what's best for their players. I'm going to see what they have to say in September, but obviously I'm going to come in with the mindset to work my hardest and try and compete out there and battle for a spot."