The Lewiston Maineiacs have a clear target in Tuesday’s annual Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

But, general manager Roger Shannon said, that’s about as much as the organization is willing to say.

“At this point, we have two European players on our team in Michal Hlinka and Oskar Orrpars,” Shannon said. “And we don’t even know yet if we’re going to actually draft on Tuesday. It depends on a couple of things that may or may not happen between now and then.”

Uncertainty is the name of the game in the annual draft, which allows teams to stock its coffers with two non-North American players for the upcoming season. All of the CHL’s teams in each of the three leagues are eligible to select two players. The order of picks depends on teams’ standings at the end of the previous year, and the picks also alternate by league.

This year, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will pick third, meaning the teams will select every third pick beginning at No. 3.

But Lewiston, which finished with the third-worst record in the league, traded its first pick in the draft to Quebec in June of 2009. The Maineiacs now hold the 42nd overall selection, scheduled for 4:20 p.m. Tuesday.

“The whole process is more like recruiting to a college,” Shannon said. “And where you’re only dealing with one or two players, you have some time to work on things and hopefully iron out some of the details ahead of time. Basically, if you can get a European player to commit to coming to your team, usually, he ends up there.”

But, Shannon said, the fact that all three leagues in the CHL are involved makes things that much more uncertain.

“You can usually get a pretty good read on what the other teams in your own league are doing, but you can be all set to draft a player and then a team 4,000 miles away takes him before you. All you can do is make sure that if you have the chance to select someone, that the work is done ahead of time, just in case.”

Shannon said work is still ongoing as the Maineiacs look to secure a specific player, but he also said he’s prepared to stand pat Tuesday.

“If we are successful in our efforts to secure a commitment, but the player isn’t still there when we pick, then we won’t draft,” Shannon said. “We have two European players right now who we would feel comfortable with going forward, and we won’t be moving to any kind of backup plan.”


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