WATERLOO — The United States Hockey League draft process is a lot like looking into a crystal ball.
At least that is how Waterloo Black Hawks’ director of scouting and player personnel Shane Fukushima sees it.
“It is always a challenge to try to build for next year, fill in the pieces that have just left,” Fukushima said. “Part two is trying to build for two or three years out. It is a tricky situation ... tough to balance trying to win right now and taking care of the future and that is what we are trying to do.”
Fukushima and Waterloo selected 18 players Tuesday during Phase II of the USHL draft, one day after selecting eight 2002 birthdate players in Phase I.
The Black Hawks’ goal was to fill out their 23-man roster, which already includes several returning players, while also filling out an 18-man affiliate list that consists of 10 2002s and a combination of eight 2000 and 2001 birthdate players.
Some of the highlights Tuesday were No. 1 pick Kyle Haskins of Huntington, Vermont. The center played with the Selects Hockey Academy at the South Kent School in South Kent, Conn., this past season and is a Michigan State commit.
Haskins also played with current Black Hawk Jack Drury on the United States squad that competed at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in the Czech Republic in August.
“Finds himself in areas to score naturally,” Fukushima said. “Arrives at spots, I more should say his hockey IQ allows him to get to spots before others and he arrives on time.”
Waterloo also took two goalies — Andover, Minn., native Ben Fritsinger and Alexander Tracy of Chicago — who in theory may serve as returning goalie Jared Moe’s backup for the 2018-19 season.
“That is just it, Jared Moe was supposed to be the backup this season, too,” Fukushima said. “We are not in the business of selecting goalies that might not make our team next season and are not able to win us games for next year.
“Obviously, we are happy to have Jared back.”
Waterloo also took four potential import players — center Petr Cajka of Kadan, Czechoslovakia, left winger Sean Donaldson of Vancouver, B.C., forward Vladislav Firstov of Yaroslavl, Russia, and Brodie McDougall, a right wing form Keswick, Ont.
“Any time you take a Canadian player, a Russian player or a Czech player it is kind of up in the air if they are actually going to report,” Fukushima said. “We feel strongly that all these guys will, but that doesn’t mean all of them will or all of them will make our team.”
Waterloo will hold its annual tryout camp later this month in Chicago, when it begins the building process of new and veteran players targeted for its 2018-19 roster.