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Knights On Ice’s 2019-20 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. Six Knights On Ice writers created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that forms the final ballot.

Coming in at No. 25 in our first-ever Top 25 Under 25 series is Quinnipiac defenseman Peter Diliberatore. The Golden Knights selected Diliberatore in the sixth round (No. 180 overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft after an impressive high school career at Salisbury School that saw the Halifax native collect 35 points in 58 games.

After being drafted by the Golden Knights, Diliberatore made the leap to the NCAA and made a significant impact for the hugely successful Quinnipiac University Bobcats as a freshman. In 38 games with the Bobcats, Diliberatore registered three goals and 16 assists for 19 points. As expected, it took some time for him to adjust to the speed of NCAA hockey, but he eventually started to blossom later on in the season (at least in terms of scoring) — he tallied points in five straight games from Feb. 23 to March 16.

Impressively, Diliberatore led the entire Quinnipiac roster (and ranked fourth in the nation) with an incredible plus-22 rating and was even named ECAC Rookie of the Month in December. Diliberatore’s 200-foot game proved to be key for the Bobcats as they qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.

3:39 left in the first, still 1-0 QU. Yale’s Joe Snively with a great chance to knot this up, but Peter DiLiberatore with

MHOK: Just under 10 minutes left to play in the first period, and Peter DiLiberatore walks in to bag his first collegiate goal. Odeen Tufto with the helper, his team-leading 16th on the year.

Bobcats dominating zone time and puck possession so far.#ECACHockey #NCAAHockey

An area of concern for Diliberatore prior to his freshman year at Quinnipiac was his size. Weighing in at just over 160 pounds when he was drafted, it was pretty obvious that he needed to bulk up before heading off to college. Since being drafted, though, Diliberatore has added around 10 pounds of muscle and, even at 19, may still have a little bit of growing to do.

Diliberatore is a long-term project for the Golden Knights. The chances of him playing in an NHL game within the next several years, let alone 2019-20, are very slim. However, if he continues to add weight and perfect his craft at the collegiate level, Vegas could have a solid defensive prospect on its hands. By all means, his freshman season was certainly an encouraging sign.

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