The Lincoln Stars had plenty of time to consider who they were going to select with the first overall pick in the 2019 USHL Phase II draft Tuesday.

Instead, the Stars traded that pick to the Chicago Steel and still got the player they wanted after a handful of trades early in the draft.

Lincoln selected 6-foot-1 defenseman Cooper Moore from Cos Cob, Connecticut, with its first selection and fourth overall pick.

Having traded the No. 1 pick to the Steel, Lincoln's next picks were to come up up at 11 and 12, which the Stars then traded to Madison for the fourth overall selection.

Lincoln's future considerations for the trades are not known.

“It was right down to the wire as we were going into the Phase I draft (Monday),” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “We were working on the details of Phase II and having the first overall pick is a blessing and a curse in a sense.

“We had a guy that we liked in the first overall spot, but ultimately for us, what we got in return for trading that pick we feel is extremely valuable. Some experience in the league and then we were able to move back up in the draft and get the guy that was the highest on our list that wasn't a developmental kid.”

After 11 Phase I picks Monday, the Stars made 15 selections in Phase II, taking four defensemen, nine forwards and two goalies.

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“It was a good day,” Chupp said. “We got great value as far as guys that have played in the league that can come in and be an impact for us right away. We were also able to move up (in the draft) and take a guy that we feel is a difference maker on that left side in our defensive group.”

After coming off a disappointing 12-win season, the Stars were methodical in how they approached the Phase II draft board.

“There was a very definite focus in this draft, working from a ghost roster, as far as guys we have penciled in, where we have them penciled in, and what that does is it points out that area of need or concern for us.

“That allows us to make picks towards our needs, rather than just drafting best available. Anytime you get caught up drafting best available you put yourself in a spot where you get to the end and there is a guy that you should have taken earlier that is off the board.”

The Stars organization relied heavily on director of player personnel Billy Pugliese for scouting purposes for the draft. Pugliese is no stranger to the USHL or the area, playing for the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers and for the Omaha Mavericks in college.

“I was pleased with the group that we got,” Chupp said. “Ultimately, we rely a ton on Billy Pugliese, who is essentially responsible for this draft to have eyes on as many kids as he can and make sure when we are making picks it is the right pick for us.

“Our coaching staff was more involved in that process than it ever has been. At least in my time here. It allowed us to have a level of comfort with these picks and that was important.”

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


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