David Gucciardi- 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

David Gucciardi

2021-22 Team: Michigan State University (NCAA)
Date of Birth: Oct. 9, 2002
Place of Birth: Toronto, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 194 lbs
Shoots: L
Position: D
NHL Draft Eligibility: second-year eligible

Rankings

David Gucciardi is an overage prospect who played the 2021-22 season at Michigan State University following the disappointment of going unselected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. A strong season in East Lansing landed him back in the conversation as a second-year eligible player who could hear his name called in Montreal in July.

The Spartans trudged through a tough season with a 12-23-1 record and suffered a brutal 8-0 loss to end the year against their rivals, the high-powered Michigan Wolverines, in the Big 10 Tournament. Gucciardi’s progress was a bright spot for the program. The freshman defenseman scored five goals and added six assists in 31 games. His steady progression throughout the season moved him from the 74th spot among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings to the 57th spot in their final rankings.

THW 2022 NHL Entry Draft Guide Shane Wright and Logan Cooley
Shane Wright and Logan Cooley (The Hockey Writers)

Gucciadri showed tremendous poise with the puck on his stick, and he projects as a catalyst from the back end because of his high offensive ceiling. His puck control skills became especially evident on the power play. He showed the ability to maneuver around opponents and maintain good position as a distributor from the point with the man advantage.

His first goal against Michigan Tech at the Great Lakes Invitational in December demonstrated an important tool that could translate well to the NHL level. Before firing from the point, he patiently eluded a defender to create shooting space and then found his lane to send an accurate shot on net. He followed it up with the overtime winner on a highlight-reel move.

YouTube player

Over the past decade, NHL stars like Drew Doughty and Shea Weber have built reputations as legitimate weapons from the point on the power play. However, the ability to fire a heavy slap shot renders meaningless for this mold of defensemen if they can’t possess the puck with poise or create the necessary space to shoot selectively and accurately.

Before beginning his NCAA career, Gucciardi spent two seasons in the United States Hockey League (USHL). He produced with solid offensive numbers, but he racked up penalty minutes (PIMs) as a member of four different teams in the developmental league. He was able to limit his time in the box in 2021-22 with just 22 PIMs in 36 games after averaging nearly two PIMs per game in the USHL.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

The need for development in the defensive zone is a common flaw for puck-moving defensemen rising through the NHL prospect pipeline. The premium price for offensive potential on the blue line in the NHL leads scouts to pay attention to the style, but the further development of an all-around game is always necessary. While Gucciardi is no exception to the rule, his status as an overage prospect could catch the eye of certain organizations in July. The thought of a shorter time span of development can be enticing, especially for defensemen because of the difficulty of a gradual understanding of decision-making for the position.

Other THW Draft Profiles

David Gucciardi- NHL Draft Projection

Ryan Stimson wrote about the “relationship between draft pick number and a team’s propensity to select an overage prospect, as those prospects are more ‘developmental ready’ with higher floors, but lower ceilings” after the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (from “Stimson: Why certain NHL teams tend to draft overage prospects more than others,” The Athletic, 10/30/2018). He identified contending teams as more likely to draft overage prospects because of the expectation for a shorter span of all-around development.

The trend could benefit Gucciardi, who some draft pundits expected to come off the board in the middle or late rounds of last year’s draft. Given the progress he showed at Michigan State throughout the season, he is likely to land in the fourth or fifth round in July.

Quotables

“Every time Gucciardi is on the ice, he demands the puck, gets it, passes, and then joins the rush to get it back. He recognizes space up the ice before many of his forwards, and finishes his off-puck routes to create space behind him. Most of his activation leads to shots from his own stick, but he shows enough passing skill to believe a change in mentality will lead to far better offensive results.” (from “2021 Elite Prospects NHL Draft Guide,” Elite Prospects, 2021)

“Gucciardi is a skilled two-way defenceman who showed his flair for the offensive in this game. His creativity with the puck enabled him to be an excellent offensive force for Waterloo in this game. Gucciardi flashed his excellent puck control and vision in this game with a number of drives from the blue line to the slot for a scoring chance.” -Dylan Galloway (from FC Hockey, “David Gucciardi,” 1/20/21)

Strengths

  • Puck control skills
  • Poise as a power-play distributor
  • Potential priority for overage prospects

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

  • Reads in the defensive zone
  • Tendency to get caught puck-watching without being aggressive in the defensive zone
  • Excessive PIMs in 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk 2/5, Reward 3/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense 8/10, Defense 5/10

David Gucciardi Statistics

Videos

YouTube player

Latest News & Highlights