The Bismarck Bobcats were active early and often in the NAHL draft on Tuesday.
The Bobcats selected five forwards and four defensemen to fill out the team's current roster of 30 players.
Evaluating prospects from around the globe is a year-round process, leading to some anxious moments when it's your turn on the clock.
"There's a lot of anticipation going into it and there's some nervousness as well, I would say," said Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. "The amount of preparation and time that goes into it from our scouts to our staff is pretty significant. We felt good about how we positioned ourselves going into the draft and I think it paid off with the players we were able to acquire."
Due to some shrewd pre-draft wheeling and dealing, Sedevie and the Bobcats were able to net all nine of their players in the first 122 selections, 215 players were picked in all.
"We felt like we got really good value with all of our picks being in the first five rounds," Sedevie said.
With the No. 7 overall selection, the Bobcats picked Tim Piechowski a 6-foot-1, 199-pounder out of Eden Prairie, Minn.
"We felt like we needed a big centerman to shore up a vacancy we had down the middle," Sedevie said of Piechowski.
The Bobcats' next two picks -- Wyatt Palmer from Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.) and Ryan Taylor from St. Louis, Mo. -- both have USHL rights, so it's not certain they'll be with the Bobcats when the season starts in September.
"It's a process that will play out," Sedevie said. "We'll wait and see what happens. Palmer's a big, skilled defenseman. Taylor's a kid with good size and a lot of ability."
Palmer was taken No. 31 overall. Taylor and Ethan Gauer of Farmington, Minn., were selected in the third round.
In the fourth round the Bobcats took a pair of forwards in Ryan Robinson from Plano, Texas and Dawson McKay from Houghton, Mich.
"We wanted to address our depth up front," Sedevie said. "We have some really good pieces coming back, but we did want to add to that group."
Their last three picks included Overland Park, Kan., forward Clark Kerner and two international D-men in Elisa Rosen from Sweden and Sebastian Hudec from Slovakia.
Prior to the draft, the Bobcats signed tender agreements with defenseman Carl Fish of St. Paul, Minn., and forward Lukas Uhler of Upland, Calif.
While there will be several new faces when the 2018-19 season begins, the roster returns several key pieces as well.
The Bobcats got strong play in goal from both John Roberts and Ryan Ullan last season. Both posted save percentages over 91 percent.
"You want to build your hockey team from the net out," Sedevie said. "We feel good about where we're at right now."
The Bobcats return a promising group of forwards topped by Adam Stocho, who had a team-best 41 points last season, including 14 goals.
Jacob Marti (11 goals) and Mitchell Walinski (10 goals) also are back.
Among the blue-liners returning are Sam Malinski and Tanner Vescio.
Few teams in the NAHL know each other better than Bismarck and Minot.
The Bobcats and Minotauros played 12 times during the regular season and a couple more exhibitions before that.
Minot held a narrow 7-5 advantage in head-to-head meetings and scored just five more goals (38-33). However, the Bobcats were on the outside looking in when the playoffs rolled around, while Minot made an epic run to the Robertson Cup championship game before losing to the Shreveport Mudbugs, 2-1.
The Minotauros were seeded 16th out of 16 when the playoffs began, but not everybody was surprised by their magical May.
"Quite frankly I wasn't," Sedevie said. "They had really good pieces. Just from knowing their team well and with injuries and some of the healthy scratches they had, sometimes it just takes a while for everything to fit together.
"Marty (Murray) and his staff did a great job. You have to give them a lot of credit for what they were able to do."
The Bobcats hold their final offseason camp at the VFW Sports Center July 13-15. Then, the final countdown begins to players reporting for training camp in late August.
"It's a fun time of year with the final camp coming up then before you know it we're right back into it," Sedevie said. "We're excited. We like the team we've been able to put together. We're looking forward to getting all these guys here."