Kimball Union Academy's Doyle Somerby was one of the more intriguing New England prospects in this year's NHL Draft Class.
The Marblehead, Mass. native started his high school career at St. Mary's of Lynn and, during his time with the Spartans, began the transition from playing forward to defense.
A rugged, 6-foot-5, 225-pounder, Somberby transferred to the Meriden, New Hampshire school for his sophomore season and continued his journey toward his professional dream.
That goal got a little closer to reality on Saturday as Somerby was selected by the New York Islanders in the fifth round (125th overall) in the NHL Draft.
"It's funny, [the Islanders were the first team I met with back in January," Somerby said in a phone interview from Pittsburgh. "But I only heard from them once more through the process, so it wasn't a surprise, but you're not really sure where you're going to end up."
Somerby will not be rushed to the NHL. He'll return for his final season at KUA in the fall (he'd also been drafted into the USHL and QMJHL) before heading off to join a deep class at Boston University in 2013. It's all part of a progression that Somerby's looking to fulfill.
"It was a tough transitition," Somerby said of his move back to the blue line. "It happened so fast. The biggest thing is still working on footwork. I'm a big guy and it took me a while to be comfortable with my body."
Somerby's development has been helped by playing against some of New England's top forwards at KUA, including Nick Roberto (Maine commit) and Niko Rufo (Providence College).
"Being at KUA, we have a bunch of small forwards who buzz around down low in the zone, like Roberto and Rufo," Somerby said. "It's built confidence in me being able to skate against those guys every day in practice."
He also credited his time in Lynn as having an impact on him.
"St. Mary's was great for me, it made me take school work seriously. Going out against the Austin Preps and Malden Catholics of the world and some of the players they had back then, that really helped me watching those players. It was great seeing them making the Super 8 so high last year, too."
While the work in progress continues, Somerby's looking forward to the hard work, with the ultimate pot of gold on the other side -- a chance to break in on Long Island.
"The team's been building with [Jonathan] Tavares and [Kyle] Okposo and they've got some really good defensemen," Somerby said. "I realize I've still got four, five more years to go, but it's exciting to see them buidling, getting the new rink and they have a great bunch of people in the front office. It's exciting to be a part of that."