42. John-Jason Peterka RW – 5’11, 192 lbs
A lot of Peterka’s game is centered around high-tempo hockey, where he uses his ever-moving feet and solid puck-handling to create zone entries with ease, especially on the rush. His speed and overall puck protection are are his best assets overall, but he has one heck of a wirst shot as well, especially on the rush. In the sequence below, we see JJ carry the puck out, enter the offensive zone, protects the puck and unleashes a very powerful wrister mid-stride. That takes considerable skill.
The #2020NHLDraft prospect who has come out of relative anonymity to consistently wow me and climb up my rankings early in the year: German forward John-Jason Peterka. Went straight from Red Bull Academy to pro hockey in the DEL and he has 3G (all nice) through 6GP, led by this: pic.twitter.com/lttOZD69sY— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) October 1, 2019
His elusiveness, even at the pro-level in Germany, causes many defensemen to over commit in defending him, thus opening up passing lanes for him to take advantage of. He is also very aware positionally, often drifting into exactly the right place to unleash his powerful wrist shot. Another think I appreciate about Peterka’s game is his hockey sense. He knows where to be on the ice almost all the time and constantly finds himself near the puck just with good positioning.
JJ Peterka from Tim Stutzle!— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) December 28, 2019
The #2020NHLDraft pair hook up again to help power Germany to a 2-0 lead!
This German team has been fun to watch, as I expected! #WorldJuniors2020 #WJC pic.twitter.com/N9ZZZCZzmP
In my opinion Peterka projects more as a complimentary player, likely a top-end 3rd line player, but he certainly has the scoring and speed to potentially rise into a top-6 one day.
43. Sam Colangelo RW – 6’2, 205lbs
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. The play below demonstrates exactly this, as Colangelo is able to protect the puck, maintain possession, drive to the net and score one of the prettier goals I’ve seen from a USHL player in a while.
Why do I like Sam Colangelo? This is why!— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) February 24, 2020
He isn’t afraid of trying things and he has the skill to pull a lot of it off. Look at this play as he plays give-and-go while he circles the zone and then drives the net and tucks it around the outstretched netminder. #2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/sRhAlOShIC
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. However, on the rush, he prefers to use his deceptive speed and underrated hands to achieve inside position on players in order to drive to the net for a high-danger scoring chance.
That this Sam Colangelo effort was not rewarded with a goal is almost criminal. pic.twitter.com/CfRsL5KMTW— Joey Padmanabhan (@joeypad2) May 27, 2020
Personally, I see top-6 potential in this player and believe he could be a dynamite player if he is able to continue improving his speed and shot. However, many question if his offense will translate at the next level or not, due to the fact that he plays primarily versus smaller competition in the USHL. I am of the belief that Colangelo will be, at worst, a great 3rd line power forward in the same ilk as an Joel Armia, but, if he puts it all together, he could have a similar trajectory as an Alex Tuch.
44. Theodor Niederbach C – 5’11, 172lbs
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 use his 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. In the sequence below, we see him beat out the defender to quickly make a beautiful drop pass to his teammates Torgersson, giving him all the time and space to unleash his shot. That’s a high skill play that we didn’t see enough of from Theodor last year, but has quickly become part of his game since returning from injury.
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. For those who were still not convinced, a week into the J-20 league in Sweden and he is ripping it up already with the next player on our list, Daniel Torgersson.
45. Daniel Torgersson RW – 6’3, 205 lbs
Daniel Torgersson is a big boy who has a nose for the net and one heck of a release on both his wrist shot and one-timer. Many believe that he is kind of a one-trick pony, in the sense that he’s just a big trigger man with notable defensive limitations and underdeveloped passing game. To be fair to those critics, Torgersson is being utilized as a trigger man for Frolunda’s J-20 league, as he lines up with the lines of Theodore Niederbach , an exceptional playmaker in his own right. I mean, look at the vision and sweet hands on this play! That has to be the easiest goal in Niederbach’s career.
We have already seen him use his quick speed of execution to create brilliant plays in the offensive zone, it’s just a question of him keeping the puck on his stick a little longer and not always being a shoot-first kind of player. Torgersson’s skating is also quite impressive for a big man, as he is able to get to top speed rather well. He takes long strides that give him the power to separate from the competition quite well, however there is clear room for improvement (which makes him a more attractive prospect in my eyes). Looking primed for a breakout season in the J-20 league and a potential call-up to Frolunda’s main roster soon, this may be one of those players fans question being taken this late.
Fabian Lysell’s first point in the SuperElit J20. Quality pass along the boards with traffic bearing on him. Lysell gets the secondary assist on the play. The goal was scored by Daniel Torgersson.#2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/7nkwYXqTP2— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) November 15, 2019
46. Shakir Mukhamadullin LD – 6’4, 178 lbs
Mukhamadullin has a huge frame, very long reach and very good skating for his size. At the very worst, he can be an elite shut-down defenseman due primarily to the ease in which he skates in every direction, as well as his long reach, which he consistently uses to break up rushes and pressure opposing forwards. He’s also good on the counter-attack, often joining the rush as the 4th man (as seen in this sequence below, and often taking a strong shot in the high-danger areas when the space is open.
Shakir Mukhamadullin credited with an assist on Danil Alalykin’s goal. Shakir aimed for the goalie’s pads and created a solid rebound. The rebound was scooped up by Pyotr Khokhraykov. Pyotr delivered a crisp pass through a small gap to Danil. #2020NHLDraft #KHL #SalavatYulaev pic.twitter.com/nSXJKBl5ME— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) October 1, 2019
Many question Shakir’s offensive potential, but many scouts believe that could also be due to the usage and strategy deployed by Salavat in the KHL (a league known to be difficult for offensive development for young defenders). However, Mukhamadullin has shown more offensive ability in his first few games of the 2020-2021 KHL season than he has all of last year. He is pinching more, he is taking more shots (resulting in his first KHL goal), while continuing to be a force defensively. Many may be sleeping on this young man, but NHL GMs are keeping a close eye.