With the 11th Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Los Angeles Kings Have Selected Gabriel Vilardi From the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL.
About Gabriel Vilardi
The Los Angeles Kings used their 11th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft to take Gabriel Vilardi out of the Ontario Hockey League – a player that some had ranked as high as third overall in their final season rankings. Vilardi is a two-way center that is calm about with the puck and can get up and down the ice quickly.
— NHL (@NHL) June 24, 2017
He’s a good sized forward that can control the play and sees the ice well. He helped the Spitfires to a strong regular season and a Memorial Cup win in 2016-17. He scored 61 points (29 goals and 32 assists) in just 49 regular season games and added six points in just seven playoff games against the London Knights. He had seven assists in just four Memorial Cup games helping Windsor take home the trophy at home.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt:
Like his fellow Windsor Spitfires teammate, Michael DiPietro, Gabe Vilardi may have secured his position in the first round of this year’s NHL Entry Draft with his play this season. On top of that, while his club couldn’t get out of the first round of the OHL playoffs, he did put his skills on full display against the London Knights in their seven-game series.
In his second full season with the Spitfires Vilardi notched 29 goals and 61 points in just 49 games. He added six points in seven games in the playoffs and was a physical force against a smaller London team.
In his OHL career, he’s averaged 0.89 points per game in 111 regular season games. For being a physical player, his 26 career penalty minutes is a prime example of how Vilardi can stay within the rules of the game while chipping away at the opposing players.
He will beef up as he gets older, but for now, the 17-year-old can be an impact player on the offensive end as he has the ability to get into tight spaces and create opportunities out of nothing.
How This Affects the Los Angeles Kings’ Plans
The fact that he was projected by some to be a top five – even top three – pick, shows just what the Kings are getting in Vilardi. While the Kings have been able to score with the likes of Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar to name a few, having a player like Vilardi coming up through the ranks will add to the offensive prowess of a team that has been known for years for their defensive play.
He should slot in among the top five prospects for the Kings’ organization following this draft – and it won’t be long before he makes the jump to the big club in Los Angeles.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.