The Vegas Golden Knights have agreed to terms with Quinnipiac University standout defenseman Peter Diliberatore on his entry-level contract. The 2018 sixth-round pick has been a rising star in the Vegas pipeline for years and has now turned pro following the Bobcats’ regional loss in the NCAA Tournament. The team announced that Diliberatore has signed a three-year ELC that is expected to begin this season and he will report immediately to the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights. No financial terms have yet been disclosed.
Somewhat of an unheralded prospect, Diliberatore has made the most of his NCAA career. A prep school product with no junior hockey experience, Diliberatore was nevertheless able to make impact immediately as a freshman at Quinnipiac. The Nova Scotia native recorded 19 points in 38 games, while his +22 rating was among the best in college hockey. Diliberatore’s scoring pace has only improved in each season since, totaling 21 points in 34 games last year and 20 points in 29 games this year, all while remaining a plus player. A smooth-skating defender who handles the puck well and has great vision on the ice, Diliberatore impressed more than just Quinnipac fans over the past few years. He was included on the 2020 World Junior Development Camp roster for Team Canada as well – an impressive honor for a sixth-round pick, even though he was one of the final cuts.
The Golden Knights are surely happy with how their late-round flier has progressed since 2018 as well. The team actually tried to woo Diliberatore to the pro game last year, but he turned down the contract offer to return for his junior year with the Bobcats. Vegas clearly thinks highly of the puck-moving defender though and he could be put on the fast track for the NHL. With Alec Martinez headed for free agency after this season and Brayden McNabb and Nick Holden doing the same after next year, the Knights will likely allow their deep group of young pro defenders to compete for the jobs behind stalwarts Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore. Diliberatore has as good a chance as any of winning one of those regular spots over the next year or two.