Graham Slaggert was the first named called in the USHL Phase II draft, picked by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

Next was Jonathan Dugan to the Chicago Steel and after Lincoln traded away their first-round pick Tuesday, the seventh overall selection, Lincoln's Phase II draft became a waiting game.

The Stars' first five selections were traded away at some point in the last two seasons, with Lincoln gaining a future consideration pick from the Chicago Steel in exchange for affiliate forward Nick Abruzzese and the first-round selection. Chicago later moved up the draft board, swapping the pick with Tri-City.

"Obviously during the season you weigh the pros and cons, and we felt the players that we got with those picks were better than what could have been drafted in the draft," Stars general manager Jon Hull said. "We knew that and knew we would be passing up on some players when it came draft time, but set out to get a certain amount of players and a certain quality and I think we attained that."

Finally the sixth round hit and Lincoln was on the clock with the 89th overall pick, selecting Blake Hayward from Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Hayward pick started a frenzy of forward selections by the Stars, who selected forwards with 14 of their 20 draft picks.

"When you're not picking for five rounds, you get a little stir crazy," Hull said. "We just worked on our list and tried to be prepared as possible.

"We really treated Round 6 like it was Round 1 for us."

Between the Phase I and Phase II drafts over the course of Monday and Tuesday, the Stars made 22 forward selections.

"A lot of it is the way it plays out," Hull said. "We want to take the best available player and draft talent and guys that we feel can play in the league.

"If we have an abundance at one position, we have to do a good job of sorting it out."

Lincoln's preference for offensive draft picks comes with the hopes of a strong returning defensive core from the 2016-17 roster.

Lincoln added four more defensemen in Phase II after selecting two in Phase I on Monday.

"The (defensemen) we selected we feel could be impact guys a year from now," Hull said. "We feel they are guys that could sit on our list, and we have a couple forward spots, with an abundance of forward spots guys can battle for. 

"Anytime you can create healthy competition in training camp and within your roster is important to develop your team and help guys come together."

Lincoln will bring returning players along with the draft picks — 22 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies — into camp June 7-11. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.

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