After a night to process the experience, Red Deer Rebels defenceman Dawson Barteaux was already at the airport daydreaming about his hockey future.
The 18-year-old Foxwarren, Man. native had a dream come true on Saturday when he was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round, 168th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
“I was about to go have a shower, took a couple steps on the stairs and got a call from my agent, he said ‘how does Dallas sound,” Barteaux said.
“It’s hard to describe, it was something I’ve been looking forward to since I was a little kid. To finally see it happen was a huge relief and a dream come true.”
Sunday morning, he quickly packed up his gear and jumped on a plane to Dallas for their rookie Development Camp.
The six-foot-one, 176-pound defender was originally ranked 133rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting heading into the draft and was the only defenceman picked by Dallas.
Barteaux noted that he spoke to about 15 teams this season but said he was never really sure about whether he was going to get picked or not. Dallas was not one of the teams he talked to throughout the year, so the pick came as a bit of a surprise.
“Amazing organization and I’m thankful that they took a chance on me and drafted me. Ready to go and prove to them I’ll wear one of their jerseys one day,” he said.
He also watched the draft with eager eyes on Friday night when teammate Alex Alexeyev was selected in the first round, 31st overall by the Washington Capitals.
“I wanted to see him go. I don’t know if I know another guy who deserves it like he does for sure, after what he’s gone through this year. Happy to see it,” Barteaux added.
The Rebels originally acquired Barteaux in a blockbuster deal at the 2017 WHL Trade Deadline. The swap brought in the young defenceman from the Pats, along with forward Lane Zablocki, and sent Anaheim Ducks draft pick Josh Mahura and Jeff de Wit to Regina.
As a 16-year-old blueliner, Barteaux took some time to get his feet underneath him in Red Deer.
He started to play bigger minutes as the season progressed this year and ended with three goals and 29 assists in 64 games. All three of his tallies were power-play goals. He also had three assists in five playoff games.
“Before the Christmas break and in the second half I picked it up and got consistent,” he said.
“Before the break, I would have good spurts of playing well, then go downhill a little bit. Just bumpy. After that I just got consistent and my play went up from there.”
Barteaux was originally a first round, 14th overall pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
Some Rebels not selected in the entry draft that were ranked by NHL Central Scouting included Kristian Rechiel (80), Chris Douglas (168) and Jacob Herauf (188). Brandon Hagel, after being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres but went unsigned, also re-entered the draft but was not selected.