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2017 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: Gabriel Vilardi

Will this Windsor Spitfires’ forward be the Dallas Stars pick at third overall?

Flint Firebirds v Windsor Spitfires Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Name: Gabriel Vilardi

2016-17 Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Stats: 49 GP, 29 goals, 32 assists, 61 points, 12 PIMs

Future Considerations Ranking: 3rd

NHL Comparable Player: Marian Hossa

Gabriel Vilardi is a powerful forward who is expected to be picked in the top five of the 2017 NHL Draft.

He has spent two years with the Windsor Spitfires after being selected second overall in the OHL draft in 2015. After an impressive rookie season with the Spitfires, he took another step forward this year.

Vilardi did miss some time this season due to an appendectomy and its clear the Spitfires missed his play while he was out.

Considered by most scouts to have a two way element to his game its clear that the offensive side of the game is where Vilardi stands out.

Dubbed by many as a power forward he has got excellent puck handling ability and playmaking skills to help set up his teammates.

He also has a powerful wrist shot and gets involved physically around the boards and in front of the net.

Vilardi is a relatively big forward at 6’2” and 192lbs but wouldn’t just be a crash and bash power forward. His playmaking skills and hockey IQ mean that he is not only capable of playing a finesse role but excelling at it.

In terms of advanced stats, Vilardi’s Corsi numbers are pretty good and his Windsor teammates nearly always performed better when he was on the ice.

Defensively Vilardi shows potential but its clear that this is the part of his game that needs the most work.

He shows the willingness to do his bit defensively but needs to improve his positioning and awareness.

The other part of his game that needs improvement is his skating. He is a good skater but there is room for him to get quicker off the mark and to become a faster skater.

Another thing to consider is Vilardi’s age - he is probably among the youngest up for the draft with an August 1999 birthday. He is nearly a year younger than fellow top prospect Nolan Patrick.

Vilardi is still probably a few years away at least from starting in the NHL so isn’t a player that would be suiting up in Victory Green next year.