Nucksmisconduct is proud to select on behalf of the Vancouver Canucks, from the Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires, Gabriel Vilardi!
Name: Gabriel Vilardi
Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 192 lbs.
Born: Kingston, ON; August 16, 1999
Is This Likely?
Many mock drafts and scouting services have Vilardi ranked in the top 5 with the majority of them seeing him selected 3rd overall. There are a couple of scenarios where this mock selection becomes reality but in my opinion there are only a few logical options:
- Both Dallas and Colorado select Defensemen to address long term team need. Although not impossible to see this happen, it would undo a lot of the season long hype of Vilardi being just a step behind Patrick and Hischier in the draft.
- Colorado trades the pick to us, and we take this prospect in his rightful spot of third. Dallas has too many goaltenders, and needs a defenceman... we have a quantity of defenceman (let’s not debate quality here) as well as a need for a backup netminder and in addition would like to move up if it makes sense to do so. Connecting the dots it becomes apparent that there could be a trade to be made, if the price is right.
- Philadelphia goes off-script and drafts ANOTHER defencemen instead of taking Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier (whichever New Jersey does not). This would be the most interesting thing to happen on draft day, but don’t count on it. And also, how many 1st round d-men does Philly need?!?! The have taken Sanheim, Provorov and Morin in recent years.
Why This Makes Sense
The Canucks of recent years have drafted players with some consistencies with regards to their skill sets. Things that the team values are: NHL size (check), above average hockey IQ (check), goal scoring prowess (check) and a winning background (Memorial Cup, Check). Taking a look at other players within the Canucks organization, you see players like Olli Juolevi, Brock Boeser, and 2017 NHL All-star Bo Horvat who all show most or all of these attributes.
Even though the season was cut short due to a couple of unfortunate ailments (knee injury with Hockey Canada and a bout of appendicitis), Vilardi was still able to put up a respectable 61 points (29g-32a) in 49 games. In addition, he put up 7 assists in 4 games at the Memorial Cup where the Spitfires went a perfect 4-0 to hoist the Cup.
Vilardi is a natural Center, but played a fair amount of Wing this season for the betterment of the Spitfires. This can not be understated as a positive as it shows his willingness to do what’s in the best interests of the team, and not his personal agenda.
Room to Improve
Much like the aforementioned Bo Horvat, one of Vilardi’s biggest opportunities for improvement is with his skating. His skating is adequate, but with a bit more work will be right in line for top 6 minutes in the NHL in the near future.
In addition, he, much like 95% of draft eligible prospects can stand to improve his defensive game. This is not a major issue, but with more game time and extra practice, Vilardi can further hone his defensive game to become a legitimate two way player like Marian Hossa (who he’s commonly compared with).
Nucksmisconduct has additional information on Villardi here.
Did we pick the best option for the Canucks?
This poll is closed
Keep Dreaming (He’s gone before we pick)
Maybe, I’m not sold on it
Worst. Pick. Ever. (Leave a comment for your preferred selection)