42. Thomas Bordeleau – C
Bordeleau is a silky smooth pivot who has a very underrated offensive toolkit, possessing above average vision, passing and shooting abilities, while being relatively responsible and surprisingly gritty. For the US National Development Team, he was the go-to offensive forward and was an absolute general on the power play due to his great passing. For a smaller player (5’9, 179 lbs), he plays a very combative style and is rather chippy along the boards. He has good speed, while being very shift, which makes him an ideal playmaking C with top-6 potential.
43. Brendan Brisson – C
The Chicago Steel standout was very impressive in the USHL mainly due to his exceptional Hockey IQ and his fluid skating. Committed to the University of Michigan next season, Brisson possesses all the tools to make it to the NHL. His 24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points in 45 games puts him in impressive company amongst USHL players, but don’t let the offensive numbers fool you, because he can impact the game in all three zones. Brisson plays a full 200-foot game and is very effective at neutral zone possession, allowing him to execute seamless zone exits and zone entries on the rush.
44. William Villeneuve – RD
Villeneuve is a steady and effective defenseman who many credit with making Jeremie Poirier look good all season for the Saint-John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL. The 6’1 right-defenseman was an absolute rock on a very young roster. He would use his solid Hockey IQ and his underrated speed to avoid high-danger situations and skate the puck out of the defensive zone. Although Villeneuve put up very respectable offensive numbers (he has 9 goals and 49 assists for 58 points in 58 points in 64 games), many question how effective his offensive game will be at the next level if he isn’t playing next to Poirier and 2021 eligible Joshua Roy. Villeneuve is an excellent risk at this point, but he projects as reliable top-4 D that could play some solid minutes and play in all situations.
45. Sam Colangelo – RW
Saying that Sam Colangelo was riding shotgun with Brendan Brisson and Sean Farrell for the Chicago Steel of the USHL would be severely underplaying how good of a season his just had. Putting up 28 goals and 30 assists for 58 points in 44 games, Colangelo displayed his strong skating stride and good puck-management skills to create open space for himself and his teammates. He loves to use his skating and puck protection skills to dominate his opponents on the cycle, making him extremely hard to defend and unpredictable. He projects as a solid top-9 forward, but certainly has legit top-6 potential as his ceiling.
46. Kasper Simontaival – RW
Simontaival is a hard prospect to gauge, as he dominated the U-20 Finnish league this season with his 25 goals and 32 assists for 57 points in just 48 games. The young winger showed great skills, including a very dangerous shot and some dangerous offensive instincts. Some folks are a little weary of placing the diminutive winger any higher in their rankings due to his size and the quality of the opposition he faced, but Simontaival has the shot, speed and skill necessary to jump into the Finnish Liiga next year and make some serious noise. He could very well be one of those diamond-in-the-rough stories for the 2020 Draft, as his international play, at tournaments like the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, shows that he can more than handle his own vs his peers.
47. Theodor Niederbach – C
After missing all of the 2018-2019 season due to a knee injury, Theodor Niederbach bounced back in a real way this season by putting up 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points in 40 games in the SuperElit league this season for Frolunda. A gifted playmaker, Niederbach is able to us ehis strong stick-handling and exceptional vision to make little plays out of nothing, as he maximizes small spaces to make high-danger passes to streaking teammates. Although he might not be the biggest forward, Niederbach plays a gritty game and fights for every single inch of ice. Many scouts could be concerned over his mobility moving forward, due to such a devastating injury that young, but the young forward showed all that is behind him this season.
48. Vasili Ponomaryov – C
Ponomaryov has an excellent set of hands, as well as some exceptional vision. He lacks elite foot-speed and doesn’t have the explosive first few steps that his peers do, but his skill is clear. Jumping over to play in the QMJHL this year, the young Russian hit the ground running, putting up 18 goals and 31 assists for 49 points in 57 games. Playing a primarily young Shawinigan team this year, Vasili started off slow, but really took off playing with fellow draft-eligible Bourque. The two has solid chemistry, and this truly allowed the youngster to display some serious skill, vision and Hockey IQ. Although he really needs to work on his speed and skating, he’s a solid bet for eventual top-6 duty.
49. Yan Kuznetsov – LD
Yan Kuznetsov played the last season in the NCAA as a true freshman at the tender age of 17 years old. This is incredibly rare, as few defensemen have taken this route (recent names like Zach Werenski or Quinn Hughes come to mind). Kuznetsov is a big (6’4) and mobile defenseman that plays a very simple and physical game, where he uses his deceptively good skating and gap control to shut down opposing players and box them out to the outside.
He did put up 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points in 34 games, which is very good for a player his age in a league dominated by 21 and 22-year-olds. He projects as a potential top-4 shut-down D, and could be ready for the pro game faster that his peers drafted around him due to his size and skating. A good gamble at this point in the Draft.
50. Michael Benning – RD
The smooth skating defender played the most recent season in the AJHL for the Sherwood Park Crusaders, where he dominated the competition with 12 goals and 63 assists for 75 points in 54 games. Committed to the University of Denver, Benning is going to be able to work on his defensive ability and gap control, while being able to fine-tune his offensive game and PP prowess in one of the NCAAs best programs. He does need to bulk up and increase his lower-body strength in order to shake off the opposition, especially under pressure. Benning is the definition of a Boom-or-Bust pick and is a real wild card for any team that is deep on defense looking for a high-value project.
51. Ridly Greig – C
Although many question his skill level and whether or not it will translate to the next level, Ridly Greig is one of the most relentless forwards in this draft. He adds the necessary grittiness and has the never-ending motor of a future forechecking machine at the NHL level, while possessing a very underrated shot and some deceptively good vision. He projects as a future top-9 forward in the NHL, but a team who seems him more as a gritty top-6 forward might take a shot at him earlier.