In celebration of the start of the 2020-21 college hockey season, Sports Illustrated profiled the top 100 NCAA players to watch. The Golden Knights were represented by five of their own prospects in SI’s list.
At #24 was Vegas’ newest 1st round prospect Brendan Brisson (Michigan), 2018 draft pick Brandon Kruse (Bowling Green) was listed at #25, and another 2018 pick Peter Diliberatore (Quinnipiac) ranked #31. Defensive prospect Layton Ahac (Ohio State) came in at #43, and lastly, goaltender Isiah Saville (Nebraska-Omaha) was slotted in at #54 by Sports Illustrated.
For some of the Golden Knights prospects, this is a big NCAA season. Junior Peter Diliberatore has his eyes on capturing Quinnipiac‘s second school title, while Layton Ahac and Brendan Brisson chase a Frozen Four title for their Big Ten schools. All three universities are ranked in the nation’s top 15 teams.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the NHL’s next season, there is meaningful hockey on the horizon. The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship starts on Christmas Day and multiple Golden Knights prospects will be there participating.
The tournament is scheduled to be played inside the Edmonton bubble from December 25th to January 5th.
The Golden Knights have five players with a chance at participating.
Peyton Krebs Canada
Krebs participated in camp with Team Canada ahead of last year’s World Juniors. Having just returned from his Achilles injury Krebs was left off the final roster that ultimately went on to win the gold medal. This year, Krebs will be a focal point to the Canadian roster, likely centering one of its top two lines.
Team Canada will be stacked this year with a host of 1st round picks that will include the 2nd overall pick in this past Draft, Quinton Byfield, and may even include the #1 selection, Alexis Lafreniere as well.
No matter how it all shakes out though, this will be Golden Knights fans first chance to see the most important prospect in the VGK system play meaningful high-level competition.
It would be a surprise if Korczak misses out on the final roster but his role on the team is very much in question. There are six 1st round pick defensemen that have been selected to the initial 46-man Team Canada roster. But, only two, Bowen Byram and Thomas Harley, were selected in the 2019 Draft with Korczak.
Being older and right-handed will likely give Korczak a leg up but these are still tough waters to navigate to get significant playing time on a roster brimming with talent.
Hopefully, for the Golden Knights sake, he has a strong camp in November and the claims a spot for the important group stage games in late December.
A small puck-moving defenseman that is best known for his offense. He’s just 5’9″ and isn’t considered the best skater but he is dynamic in the rush. He’s best on the power play where he amasses most of his points.
Cormier is a puck-mover who has a good first pass out of his zone and good vision in the offensive zone. He makes quick decisions with the puck and his passes are crisp with great accuracy. He did have some bad games in our viewings this year, where some bad-puck management was on display along with some questionable play in his own zone. He’s not a big defenseman, he even looks smaller than his listed size. Regardless, it’s going to be very challenging for him to make it to the NHL. -NHL Black Book
Cormier says he models his game after Torey Krug and Sam Girard.
3rd Round – #91 Overall Selection: Jackson Hallum (F) – St. Thomas Academy (HS-MN)
Hallum is a speedy forward that some consider to be the best skater in the entire draft. He’s a two-way player due to his high end-skating but is more known as an offensive-minded forward who generates offense for any line he’s on.
Hallum has excellent explosiveness and top end speed and this season he started to figure out how to best use it to his advantage offensively. Using his speed to not only gain the edge and drive the net on opponents but to also penetrate the middle of the ice, quickly knifing through lanes to get to the net. Hallum is strong on his skates and can use his skating abilities down low to control possession. What keeps Jackson from being a high-end NHL draft prospect is his overall playmaking ability and his tendency to make some questionable decisions with the puck, sometimes skating out of scoring positions or turning the puck over in bad areas of the ice. -NHL Black Book
**TRADE** VGK acquires pick #135 for a 2022 4th Round pick
A well-rounded defenseman who is a strong skater. Scored just 11 points in 47 games in the USHL but was strong for Team USA at the Hlinka/Gretzky tournament. His offensive is hot and cold but defensively he’s usually sound.
Noah Ellis (6th round pick) says he models his game after Shea Theodore. Said he loves how smooth he plays the game.
A 200-foot center that has played in both offensive and defensive roles both in Russian leagues and internationally. He’s 21-years-old making him by far the oldest player Vegas has ever selected. He posted 40 points in 30 games last season in the MHL.
(Huge shout out to both the NHL Black Book and Draft Recrutes. Both guides are spectacular and are must-buys for anyone who loves the NHL Draft. I’ve bought both every year the site has been around.)
With their first selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft the Golden Knights selected Brendan Brisson from the Chicago Steel of the USHL. He’s a 5’11” forward who is most known for his playmaking skill.
Brisson is a naturally gifted winger, who blends some of the best hockey sense available in this class with high-end skill. His playmaking can be as dynamic as his slapshot. A shot doesn’t mean much if he doesn’t have the spatial awareness to take advantage of it, but Brisson is gifted at turning himself into a back-door passing option or cycling into a soft area where he can receive the puck. -NHL Black Book
Brisson is the son of hockey agent Pat Brisson who represents Jonathan Marchessault and Nic Roy. He grew up in Los Angeles and has played in the USHL since 2018. Brisson is committed to attend the University of Michigan.
"We're extremely excited about the player we selected, Brendan Brisson. One of the things that excites us is his trajectory, he's really shown improvement over the last two years. Our scouts are really excited about how high his ceiling can be." -McCrimmon
Brisson on his father's client Jonathan Marchessault
"I haven't met him but I've heard a lot of good things about him. I love the way he shoots the puck. He's not the biggest guy but he's always getting into those areas. He's a player that I would like to model my game after."